Sunday 3 March 2024


by Maggie Horne;  


An Adventure Book Review by Erin the Literary Cat©, International Book Reviewer.

Hello, and welcome to my weekend Book Review featuring this week an Middle Grade Adventure Fiction.

This week marks the start of a short break for us. Well, maybe it should be entitled a short sprain cum crushed knee joint but not break, as Mrs H hurt her knee. Trying, of all things, to pull the horse carriage across the sodden lawn to hard standing so it didn't sink into the mud. Mud which has been caused by torrential rain here in the village. And not the sort of floods caused by our neighbour leaving his lawn sprinkler on overnight. I told Mrs H that we have a horse for pulling the cart, and he, even though aged, is well used to getting soggy and muddy in the paddock. Personally, I think Mrs H was trying to prove she still has 'it'. What 'it' is, I suspect we'll never quite understand. What she now has, is a crushed knee. Oh well, at least now she's housebound, I can get some room service 23 hours a day.

And talking of crushed, but of a different kind, not that I know about such things, let's get on to this week's FAB new read. The path to younger love never seems so fraught, or entertaining, as this. We hope you'll enjoy . . .


AUTHOR:  Maggie Horne


Cover art by: TBA


Published by: Firefly Press


Publication date Paperback:   28 May 2024



Paperback ISBN: 978-1915 444 530

UK Cover price for Paperback:  £7.99

Kindle UK price: N/A


Pages: 297


Age range: Young Adult

Any dogs or cats? 




Some as to plot direction and characters.



Thank you to...

We are exceedingly grateful to Graeme at Firefly Press Independant Publishers for the privilege of getting to Read & Review this amazing follow up book from Maggie Horne book before publication.

As ever, our views are our own, and we only share reviews of books we have bought, been given as gifts, or received in exchange for an impartial review.

First and foremost, the books we review are those we select to read, like, and feel our global readers deserve to know about and that we hope they, their family, friends and students will enjoy.

The plot


Twelve-year-old Canadian, Noah Frye, has just returned from her summer camp. Things have, however, changed in her friends, Luna and Zoey, since she was gone; they have discovered boys. Noah, who only teamed up with a girl at the camp called Jessa, feels left behind. A friend, after all, is not the same as a boyfriend, especially when the others conversations now revolve around how nice the boy is and kissing, or at least the promises of. Even introducing Jesse, who recently moved to Noah's school after her family came to town, to her friendship circle seems to go awry, as Jessa seems more popular than her. Noah decides she needs a boyfriend to have her first kiss and cuddle and thus remain actively engaged with her friends.


So, she tries, quite literally, through what she thinks are reasoned experiments to determine what is involved and if she can catch up. Picking on unsuspecting Archie, a boy from her school, she sets out to achieve results akin to those of her friends, and elder sister, Brighton. Archie's family have adopted Hank, a long-time resident dog from the shelter where Noah volunteers. Getting Archie involved seems the perfect way to get the data and, ultimately, the experience she needs and craves.


Noah has given herself a target to get her own boyfriend by. But her best-laid plans go awry when her PARENTS' home and garden renovating business starts to fail, caused by the arrival in the town of famous TV home makeover guru Brylee James and her Rural Makeover programme.


The resulting pinch on home finances means the open-door Halloween celebrations Noah's family holds yearly, a firm favourite of Luna and Zoey and all the other kids they know, won't be as glitzy as the other kids want. Noah fears her own popularity will suffer even more.


When, after a girls' sleepover at Noah's house, Jessa comes to the shelter with Noah, the whole dynamic of Noah's plan for Archie takes a tumble when, from inexperience in flirting, she insults him and hurts his feelings. So much so that the shelter's owner says that if she carries on, she will lose her job because of her bullying attitude. Jessa, quite reasonably, is confused by what she sees, mixed signals if you will, but ultimately tries to help Noah achieve her goal.


Now, because of all the ins and outs of this plot, the dynamics of Noah's family and the relationship between the friends, old and new and potential victims of Noah, I really can't say any more.


But as you might guess, things will need to, and do, go wrong so they can improve before we reach the end. You'll just have to read along to discover how things turn out for Noah, her family and friends. 


So, what did we think? 


We both loved how the young characters, friends and family interacted, the angst of figuring out life and the first steps to maturity, adulthood, friendship and, ultimately, love, irrespective of gender. 


Noah recounts her progress in a diary-like style. Each chapter has a heading and, beneath, bullet points of related matters, for example, things Noah likes, dislikes or wants to achieve.


Written most sensitively and wittily (despite our protagonist's misguided and sometimes blunt tactics) and told in the first person, Noah tries her best to navigate the changes within, and in her long-time friendship circle friends, Zoey and Luna, as the others discover boys and how to interact. 


What is quite clear for the reader, and I suspect deliberately so in a beautifully choreographed way, is a road map to understanding a broad range of emotions and oneself. Not everything in life is clear-cut. Friendships consist of more than just one thing. They can withstand many challenges if we take the time to understand our own feelings and those of the surrounding people. And why should these things be difficult, facts and advice obscured by others in an age of enlightenment?


The additional dynamics of a new girl, Jessa, Noah's parents' business problems, and Brylee James make this entire story so very compelling. For extra fun, Noah's parents rescue pugs, and have far too many around the house adding to the chaos of everyday life.


The twists and turns kept coming and kept us guessing, gasping and giggling. We were never entirely sure where we would end up with this read, which is why we loved it so. The final chapters are telling and appreciative of the situations portrayed and life. 


Writing at its very best, dealing with subjects for the young teenager in a form that is neither patronising nor slanted. Maggie Horne has created another go-to piece of literature for all ages that will help inform, entertain, and make a more tolerant society. 

Crunch time. 


An essential, balanced, unputdownable read and a rollercoaster ride of fun, tears, discovery, misunderstandings and friendship that is right here and now for younger readers and a recommendable read for all.

Want to buy a copy?


To get a copy, please sail or saunter down to your local independent bookshop and place a pre-order/ order. 


Maggie Horne's Author page at Firefly press can be found HERE or type this:


Firefly Press's web page can be found HERE or type this:


We are joining the Sunday Selfies, hosted by the wonderful Kitties Blue and their mum, Janet Blue, from the Cat on My Head blog in America.

Small image. The Cat on My Head Sunday Selfies Blog Hop badge. Features a yellow-haired lady with a tuxedo cat on her head.

I shall leave you with a selfie entitled: Are you sure??? 🙂 🙂



Till laters!



  1. ERin, We love your selfie. As for the book - it sounds quite a-mewsing, although Mummy says that when one goes through what Noah goes through, it doesn't feel a-mewsing at all.

  2. ERin happy lovely selfie look stunning.
    Thank you for the review..I have a soft spot in my heart for Pughs.
    Hugs Cecilia

  3. I sure hope that Mrs H's knee gets all better soon. That was a fantastic book review and a totally gorgeous selfie sweet Princess!

  4. Dear ERin, you now need to be the nurse fur yer lovely mum Mrs. H. Young luv fur hoomans is some times heart breaking. Keep Mrs. H off her feet as much as possible and we'll see you later. Precious

  5. I hope Mrs.H.'s knee soon heals. That sounds very painful. That was a good review and sounds ideal for young teenagers and pre-teens. Your selfie is lovely as usual.

  6. That selfie is purrfect, ERin! What, we wonder, were you questioning?

    Young love is so fraught with discovery and lot of insecurity. This book sounds like a great read and something that will help young folks who might be in the midst of that.

    We hope Mrs. H.'s knee is on the mend very soon!

  7. That sounds like a good book. I hope Mrs. H is better soon. And I LOVE your selfie. You have the cutest little nose. XO

  8. The books sounds a lot of fun as well as hitting the young people worrying spot. We all remember that. It sounds a good book.

  9. Love that selfie! Mudpie says there's worse things than having a housebound human :)

  10. POTP for that injured knee!

    We love your selfie, Erin! It's pensive but lovley!

  11. Pretty selfie, Erin! The book sounds really good.

  12. Who knows why humans make the choices they do?!?