We have time for one last story before Christmas, have we not? I was gonna write this post yesterday on the release day, but I got a niece (!), so for once reading or writing wasn’t on my mind.
Up! is a delightful story by Claire Davis and Al Stewart and if you’ve read this duo before you know what to expect language-wise. I just love their voice, the poetic, almost dreamy way they tell a tale.
Luke struggles with his mental health, he observes life through his window, afraid to take part in it after his world came crumbling down when he went to college. For years he’s followed Formaldehyde Bob’s blog, an artist Luke fell in love with a long time ago, and when their paths meet something between them grows.
This is such a lovely story about love and struggles, about family and art, about jeans and Dr Martens. I adore Harry, Luke’s dad, he’s a beautiful character. As you know if you’ve followed this blog YA/NA isn’t really my thing, but few write NA books like Davis & Stewart. Marvellous! And it’s a free story, so go grab it!
After a failed attempt at college, Luke lives a quiet existence with his dad. He recovers from bitter disappointment and gradually life returns to a regular rhythm. Safe and predictable. Every day he gains confidence, but with health comes boredom. From the window ledge, he watches people outside and wishes he could be like them.
There’s another side to Luke. Underneath his bed are five hidden pairs of jeans with matching Dr Martens: yellow, purple, striped, green and tartan. Some days he feels the itch to get them out. Nope. Those days are gone.
One day, an amazing thing happens. Dynamic blog artist Formaldehyde Bob comes to town with an exhibition of light and dark! Luke has crushed on him since being fifteen, idolising the man and his unusual creations. Something about the art calls to Luke like nothing else, makes him believe there might after all be someone out there who thinks in the same way. A soul mate. A bird with a similar song.
No. Luke isn’t going to go and see Formaldehyde Bob. He isn’t. Because he’s happy with his monotonous lot and doesn’t want to see hope sliding down a mountain of sand.
Will Luke take a chance and visit Formaldehyde Bob?
Can the jeans ever be worn again?
Does grumpy Barbara ever smile?
And the most important question: is there any magic left in the world?
Find out in this snowy tale of young love in the most unexpected places.
Content warning: references to self-harm, mental illness.