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Finding a Voice by Kim Hood

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Teenage Book of the Month

Finding A Voice by Kim Hood
Published by Quercus, 2014

Finding A Voice
explores the world of mental health through the eyes of a teenager who has to contend with her mother’s illness. Jo has to take on the adult role at home and deal with issues on a daily basis that she’s ill-equipped to handle.

When she befriends Chris, a boy in the special learning unit in school, her interaction with him leads to a life change for her. Chris can’t speak and Jo pours her heart out to him because she has needed someone to listen all her life and hadn’t found anyone until now.

Chris has his own secret. Behind his very visible disabilities is an intelligent, understanding young man.

In a dramatic turn of events, Jo decides she knows what’s best for Chris and removes him from his care home. This is the turning point in both their lives that has the potential to end in absolute disaster and almost does.

However all the best human qualities prevail and the strong will and caring personality presented through the book’s main characters leaves the reader in no doubt about the effectiveness of genuinely wanting to help as a first step to overcoming insurmountable problems.

It’s been an outstanding year for Irish young adult writers. Louise O’Neill’s Only Ever Yours and Kim Hood’s Finding A Voice were shortlisted for the inaugural Bookseller Young Adult Book Prize with Only Ever Yours taking the top prize in March 2015.