Stephen is going to stay with his great-aunt, Lola. He has never met her, but does not really want to. She is nearly eighty and Stephen thinks they will have nothing is common. When Stephen and his family arrive at her house, he discovers that she is very old, grumpy and scary. At first, he wants to go home. However, over the next couple of weeks, Stephen and Lola start to get to know each other, and he realises that she is both a strong and interesting character. He also makes friends with Lola’s neighbour, Norm, and his grand-daughter, Allie. Then, when Lola becomes ill, she entrusts Stephen with a very important secret. The eventful visit shows Stephen the importance of the simple things in life, and enables him to get to know and care about Lola.
This is a warm and perceptive story about the importance of the relationship between younger and older generations. It looks at the problems of ageing sympathetically, and its gentle humour reveals how Stephen and Lola’s friendship gradually develops. It also covers other themes, such as illness, death and secrets, but in a gentle and sensitive way so as not to upset the young reader.