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Finding a Voice Friendship is a Two-Way Street ... by Kim Hood

Finding a Voice Friendship is a Two-Way Street ...

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Shortlisted for the Bookseller Young Adult Book Prize 2015.

Jo can't tell anyone how hard it is living with her mentally ill mother. Chris literally has no way to speak at all. Together, can they finally find their voices?

Reader Reviews

Teens love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert review, some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Safiyah Davenport, age 15 -'A lovely heartwarming book that successfully inspires and showcases the true meaning of courage and friendship.' Read full review >
  • Natalie Hunter, age 12 - 'I really enjoyed reading Finding A Voice and couldn't put it down resulting in me finishing it in a day.' Read full review > 
  • Morgan Steigmann, age 15 - 'A heart-warming tale that will restore your faith in the kindness of humanity, Jo and Chris’ story is sure to be a hit with both young and old.' Read full review >
  • Imogen Fisher, age 13 - 'I think it has been written in a way that will be able to give lots of people an insight into things they haven't experienced before. I really really liked this book!' Read full review >


Finding a Voice Friendship is a Two-Way Street ... by Kim Hood

Jo could never have guessed that the friendship she so desperately craves would come in the shape of a severely disabled boy. He can't even speak. Maybe it is because he can't speak that she finds herself telling him how difficult it is living with her eccentric, mentally fragile mother. Behind Chris' lopsided grin and gigantic blue wheelchair is a real person - with a sense of humour, a tremendous stubborn streak and a secret he has kept from everyone. For a while it seems life may actually get better. But as Jo finds out just how terrible life is for Chris, and as her own life spirals out of control, she becomes desperate to change things for both of them. In a dramatic turn of events, Jo makes a decision that could end in tragedy. This is the story of how an unusual friendship unlocks the words that neither knew they had.


not so much a guidebook through adolescence, but more an assurance that it will get better -- I really really liked this book! -- Imogen, a heart-warming tale ... moving and compelling, but crafted by Hood in a way that makes it believable. For a debut novel, this book is utterly outstanding and a credit to Kim Hood- I hope there are many more to come! -- Morgan, couldn't put it down -- Natalie, a lovely heart-warming book that successfully inspires and showcases the true meaning of courage and friendship -- Safiyah, touching and poignant story ... written with deep compassion and understanding, this is excellently written and will grip the reader's attention -- I would highly recommend this book ... 9/10 -- author Kim Hood ... certainly packs a punch in her story of friendship against the odds ... there are plenty of messages that could be drawn from these pages. But the one that comes over most strongly is that there is no such thing as `normal
Evening Echo AMAZING Story

! Extremely well written, and totally unexpected with a beautiful ending and a moral overtone that was addressed perfectly, without overshadowing the relationship between the main characters -- Finding a Voice is very, very good -- Deirdre O'Sullivan a touching story about how help can come from unexpected places -- thought-provoking & engaging -- Booktrust gives an honest, clear-eyed account of the challenges Chris and Jo have to deal with ... despite the uplifting ending, it is never sentimental ... a gripping story, well told, with rounded and appealing characters -- mental illness is an 'illness
which touches many people. I am one of those people and I now, after over fifteen years, feel ready to talk about it. However, when I was younger, I wish there had been a book that I could

've related to, this is such a book ... a beautiful read ... powerful ... let's get it onto school reading lists! -- Sarah Broadhurst Reviews anyone who wants more diversity in YA lit needs to read this. Not only does it handle mental health in a true to life way, it also features a main character with severe disabilities and does so brilliantly ... A lot of the issues in this book are very, very serious ones. It deals with mental health, physical disabilities and the danger of assuming you are aware of what is best for others when honestly you can't unless you are them. It is an `issues'
book but the beautiful writing and the characters within it are much more than their issues

... a beautiful book -- Readaraptor Finding a Voice is compelling, convincing, and considerably well-written. As well as acting as a testimony to the transformative power of friendship, this touching tale emphasises the importance of embracing each person's humanity- even one's own -- The Looking Glass It's not often these days that I am so enamoured with a book that I read it in one sitting and little did I know when I sat in the garden, one sunny Tuesday afternoon, and got up three hours later with a pretty numb backside and a sunburnt nose, that FINDING A VOICE would be that book. Beautifully written, heart-wrenching prose, honest and fragile characters and a touching story makes for one very special read ... this was such a special book and resonated with me on so many levels. Kim Hood's easy style of writing allows the emotion to shine through and enables the reader to really connect with the characters. The pacing flowed well and kept me engaged with the story which was so sweet and honest, it made my heart ache for Jo and Chris ... a story about friendship and unwavering hope, FINDING A VOICE is a book that will stay with you long after you've finished - touching and tender, it will make you laugh and cry ... perfect for fans of Gayle Forman and John Green - Highly recommend. -- What Danielle Did Next I try to read books like this in one sitting, so I don't have to stop partway through exciting bits ... I'm going to reread this book for sure - make sure you read it! -- Nayu's Reading Corner forty pages into this book and my heart was already broken ... as someone who has suffered with mental health difficulties, the idea of raising a child has always seemed fraught with difficulties. Many of my own fears were reflected in the experience of Jo and her mother and I was incredibly sad for this young girl with such an awful weight on her shoulders ... I can't wait to see what Kim Hood does next -- Bibliojacq Blogs I've never felt so amazed and utterly moved by a story before in my entire life! It left me feeling inspired and really in awe ... you see the beauty about this book is that there is more than one person finding a voice ... they just don't know it yet. That ending!! ... I really and truly can't champion this brave and boldly fearless little bit of totally diverse fiction enough. Why oh why aren't there more books like this out there - all ages could learn a thing or two. I don't usually say this but - go buy it, please! I just know it's going to make my top 10 books of the year!
Fiction Fascination new fiction voice is quite a find

... assured and compelling ... you can't put it down! -- Westmeath Independent a moving tale of friendship and troubled teenagers -- The Telegraph's Best YA Books of 2014 a very moving story with many important and contemporary themes: loneliness; attitudes to disability both physical and mental; and how to be a carer when only a child ... This is Kim Hood's first novel and I look forward to more from this very talented author -- Armadillo Magazine deeply touching ... an inspirational heroine -- Irish Examiner I would recommend it to all young readers -- Evening Echo

About the Author

KIM HOOD grew up in British Columbia, Canada. After earning degrees in psychology, history and education, she wandered through a few countries before making the west coast of Ireland home. Her eclectic work experience in education, therapy and community services has presented endless opportunity to observe a world of interesting characters. She has always had a passion for trying to understand life from the perspective of those on the fringes of society.

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Book Info

Publication date

11th August 2014


Kim Hood

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O'Brien Press Ltd


240 pages
Interest Age: From 11 years


NewGen - YA Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites

General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Family & home stories (Children's / Teenage)



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