What the World Doesn’t See

Mel Darbon

Maudie and Jake’s family is falling apart. Their father died two years ago and since then their Mum has just not been able to cope with her grief. Jake has learning difficulties and is autistic but the bond between Jake and Maudie is incredibly strong. She knows and understands him, and feels her love protects him.

When their mum just vanishes one day, and their aunt decides that Jake would be better in care until mum is found, Maudie knows that this is not the right decision for Jake. She comes up with a plan to try to get their mum to come home by kidnapping Jake and going on the run to Cornwall to hide out. Things don’t quite go to plan but together the two of them find new strengths as well as freedom, understanding and love – but is it enough to find mum and bring her home?

Written in dual narrative between Jake and Maudie, this is a beautifully written, empathetic novel that captures the reader’s heart and mind with characters that are really well drawn and believable. There is still a huge lack of disabled representation in books for children and young people. Mel Darbon writes to counter this lack of representation and is inspired by her own experiences with her younger brother Guy who had severe learning disabilities and was unable to speak for himself.

A powerful, heart-warming, and wonderful reading experience, I absolutely loved it and it is one that will stay with me. I can also definitely recommend her other book ‘Rosie Loves Jack’ too, about a girl with Down’s syndrome who sets off to try to reunite with her boyfriend.

Published by Usborne

Reviewed by Annie Everall