You may remember last year’s bestselling debut novel from Lisa O’Donnell, The Death of Bees, with the unforgettable opening lines: “Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved.”
In her new novel, CLOSED DOORS (on sale this week), fans will appreciate O’Donnell’s return to a young, precocious narrator in 11-year-old Michael Murray, a champion at keepy-uppies and keeping secrets in his tiny Scottish island. Although his family thinks he’s too young to hear grown-up stuff, Michael listens at doors and finds out the secret that has turned his family’s world upside-down – one that he must keep from gossipy neighbors in their oppressively small town. As rumors run rampant, he tries to piece the truth together, while also preparing for the upcoming talent show, keeping an eye out for his arch-nemesis Dirty Alice, and avoiding eating Granny’s watery stew.
It’s a powerful tale of love, the loss of innocence, and the importance of family in difficult times, as told through the “observant, thoughtful, comical, and thoroughly believable” voice of Michael Murray (Sunday Times, London).