Review: Toffee by Sarah Crossan

Allison has run away from home, and with nowhere to live, finds herself hiding out in the shed of what she thinks is an abandoned house. But the house isn’t empty. An elderly woman named Marla, with dementia, lives there – and she mistakes Allison for an old friend from her past called Toffee.

Allison is used to hiding who she really is, and trying to be what other people want her to be. And so, Toffee is who she becomes. After all, it means she has a place to stay. There are worse places she could be.

But as their bond grows, and Allison discovers how much Marla needs a real friend, she begins to ask herself – where is home? What is a family? And most importantly, who am I, really?

This book grabbed me from the first page and dragged me into Allison’s story. I didn’t want to leave until I knew how everything turned out for her.

Toffee tackled some hard themes, child abuse, parent death, dementia, elder abuse, homelessness and peer pressure and yet if still somehow managed to remain hopeful and upbeat.

Allison’s growing relationship with Marla was delightful, we saw it grow from Allison taking a chance on a warm bed for the night to a genuine concern and care for this stranger who’s house she is squatting in.

In return Marla draws Allison out of her shell slowly and shows her more love than she’s had from most people in her life, even if to start with she believes to start with that Allison is Toffee and not Allison at all.

These two women, one young, one old, both damaged by life in different ways, one who can’t remember and one who doesn’t want to, yet somehow they found each other and together form a strange and wonderful friendship.

This book made me cry big messy tears and I’m so glad I read it.

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