Read as part of One Cavan One Writer.
Shell is 15 years old and lives with her father and two younger siblings near a small town in Ireland. Life is hard on Shell since her mother died a year previously. She’s trying to look after the house and her brother and sister while her father has descended into religious obsession and drink. During the past year Shell has lost her faith in God and Jesus, but that returns when a new young priest, Father Rose, comes to the parish.
Her new found faith isn’t enough though to prevent Shell from being friends with two questionable youths. There’s Bridget, who thinks nothing of stealing from shops, and Declan who, like most teenage boys is only interested in one thing and finds a willing accomplice in the lonely Shell.
It is only after both Bridget and Declan disappear from Shell’s life that she finds herself faced with the consequences of her actions. Consequences that find her broken hearted, almost completely alone, ostracised by most people around her and potentially facing jail as well as the break-up of what remains of her family.
This is not a happy story. However, it is far from depressing.
Ultimately this is an uplifting story that makes you think. It deals with issues that are all too realistic; the death of a parent and the unravelling of the surviving partner, the temptations teenagers are faced with and the harm malicious gossip can do. However, it also deals with the strength we find through the love of those closest to us and value of loyalty and friendship.
The fact that this book is based on a true event means that this story cuts even closer to the bone. It is a book that will make you think and a story that will stay with you after you’ve finished reading it.