Show Us Who You Are by Elle McNicoll

Publication Date: 4 March 2021

The Blurb

The second book from the author of A Kind Of Spark, with Neurodivergent characters you’ll root for and a moving friendship at its heart. When Cora’s brother drags her along to his boss’s house, she doesn’t expect to strike up a friendship with Adrien, son of the intimidating CEO of Pomegranate Technologies. As she becomes part of Adrien’s life, she is also drawn into the mysterious projects at Pomegranate. At first, she’s intrigued by them – Pomegranate is using AI to recreate real people in hologram form. As she digs deeper, however, she uncovers darker secrets… Cora knows she must unravel their plans, but can she fight to make her voice heard, whilst never losing sight of herself?

The Review

“Grief is just love asking for more time.”

Raw, powerful and compelling storytelling celebrating friendship and love, and exploring the range of emotions that are encompassed in grief.

I don’t think a children’s book, or any book for that matter, has affected me quite as much as this one has, which makes this an exceptionally difficult review to write, and it’s one that I really don’t feel does Elle’s words justice. I will state that I read this just a month after the death of me Mam, and there were so many triggers. I spent the majority of the book in tears, but I felt a warmth from the words that I wasn’t alone in my grief the whole way through.

Elle’s characters are so well crafted and nuanced. Cora is forthright and determined and doesn’t shy away from calling out injustice and inequality. Watching Cora and Adrien’s relationship develop was joyous, while her tentative trust in Dr Gold was unnerving as we watch her fall futher under the Doctor’s spell driven by her desire to believe in the project and it’s aims. The threads running through the book from the adult characters are complex and help to underline just how differently we can react to grief.

The silent skies are a clear nod to the world we have found ourselves living in this past year, and Pomegranat Institute HQ are chillingly believable in their set up. Ethics behind AI, and the need to ‘airbrush’ ourselves of our perceived imperfections are ripe for discussion, as are equality and a level playing field, and how it feels to lose someone we love.

Be prepared to feel a whole range of emotions in what is an even more self assured read than A Kind Of Spark, which is a must for every classroom from Year 5 up. You can buy it from Round Table Books, but please, do get yourself some tissues too.

About The Author

“I just said I’m a Neurodivergent author who writes for Neurodivergent children. Live on Blue Peter.”

Elle McNicoll is a children’s author from Scotland, now living in East London. As a neurodivergent writer, she is passionate about disability rights and representation. She was inspired to finish A Kind of Spark after her Masters research revealed that only 0.05% of protagonists in children’s books are neurodivergent. When she isn’t writing fiction, Elle assists as a mentor for neurodivergent students at UCL, works as an editor and in her spare time, makes colourful chokers for friends to wear. A Kind of Spark won the Blue Peter Book Award, and was named Blackwell’s Children’s Book Of The Year.

About The Publisher

Knights Of are creating quality content for kids – with as many perspectives as they can squeeze into the making-of each book.

Publishing hasn’t got a great track record with diversity – on the shelf or behind the scenes. ‘Diverse’ books are often shelved as ‘niche’ while less than 4% of the publishing workforce in the UK is non-white. Knights Of is creating a better pipeline: working with writers, illustrators, agents, retailers and other publishers to make books better.

Huge thanks to Knights Of and ed public relations for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Show Us Who You Are. Do make sure you check out all of the other stops.

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