Lacey Layton has a sharp tongue and a reputation as a troublemaker; as a result, she spends a lot of time in her school’s isolation unit. However, her head teacher is keen to help, recognising Lacey’s intelligence and that a lot of her problems are due to her chaotic home life. When lunchtime music sessions are suggested Lacey is initially suspicious, but she soon discovers she has a natural talent for piano playing and composition and really enjoys sessions with the music teacher. Lacey is devastated when she discovers he is leaving, and her behaviour deteriorates once more. However, one day Lacey discovers a piano at the nearby train station and playing it secretly it becomes a lifeline for her. Unfortunately, she soon discovers there are plans to remove the piano. In order to save it, not only for herself but also the others who rely on it, Lacey decides she has to take action which will mean revealing her passion and skill to the public and even worse to her family.
Lacey is an appealing character, and this is a very moving story about a troubled child who discovers an unexpected talent. We see her struggles as she tries to reconcile her identity as a member of the fiercely loyal but anti authority Layton family and the new opportunities nurturing her musical talent may bring her. It is a lovely story full of warmth and sensitivity.
With Barrington Stoke’s trademark dyslexia friendly format this is an accessible, inclusive and engaging read, highly recommended.