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The Closest Thing to Flying

Gill Lewis (, Somerset, UK)


  • Action Adventures - chills, thrills and plenty of spills
  • Friends & Family - tears and laughter, and happy ever after

Average rating

5 out 5

Present day: Semira doesn't know where to call home. She and her mother came to England when she was four years old, brought across the desert and the sea by a man who has complete control. Always moving on, always afraid of being caught, she longs for freedom. 1891: Hen knows exactly where to call home. Her stifling mother makes sure of that. But her Aunt Kitty is opening her eyes to a whole new world. A world of animal rights, and votes for women, and riding bicycles! Trapped in a life of behaving like a lady, she longs for freedom. When Semira discovers Hen's diary, she finds the inspiration to be brave, to fight for her place in the world, and maybe even to uncover the secrets of her own past Gill Lewis is the multi-award-winning and best-selling author of novels including Sky Hawk, White Dolphin, and A Story Like the Wind. This is her unforgettable tale of friendship, hope, and finding the courage to fight for what you believe in.


Wow what a book!!! Read it in a day and thoroughly enjoyed it. So great for the younger reader (10+) as it covers a number of topics; refugees, feminism, domestic violence etc in an understandable way. Semira truly believes that her and her mother’s life is following that of the girl in the diary, Hen and her Aunt Kitty. Beautifully written with lovely vocabulary. The only reason I gave it a rating of 4 was because I felt it threw a few things in I thought it didn’t need, like her father who was in prison and escaped, Robel - where was he making the mother work?


Lovely story which cleverly charts the lives of two girls a hundred years apart. The plot covers some challenging issues such as racism, feminism and domestic violence but in an age appropriate and accessible way. Would recommend to children in Y5 and Y6.


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