Cover Image: This Is All He Asks of You

This Is All He Asks of You

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A twelve year old Luna, living with her terminally mother and longing to know her father or at least something of substance about him.

Luna writes letters to her absent father which on the one hand are true to a child her age and yet on the other hand show a strange maturity and spiritual knowledge of what is necessary to lead a full and good life.

A simple tale shown through the purity of a child's eyes which cannot fail to tug at your heart strings although I was disappointed when it ended where it did. Luna's simple acceptance and intuition left me wiser and full of gratitude.

My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my ecopy of this book.
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What an extraordinary and thought provoking book.

A young 20 something Luna reads through letters she wrote as a child to a father she never knew and relives the memories of that painful yet precious and formative time in her life. Her mother is now dying and still refuses to give Luna the answers she needs. But Luna is a child who sees the world differently to others and is guided by the buzz in her head and the golden liquid light of being.

This is a book to read again and again and again - just fabulous
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Luna seems wise beyond her years and yet manages to capture and hold tight to her imagination, even when those around her do not. I found many of her letters raw and sad. And yet I cheered for her. Her letters to her father were typical of most 12-year-olds in some way, and yet shared glimmers of a beautiful mind and soul.
I received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. I enjoyed parts of it, but can't give it more than three stars because it failed to wow me.

Apologies to the author and publisher.
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I just loved this. 

Luna has a unique and lovely voice and is an irresistibly odd bird of a twelve-year-old girl. 

She is facing her mother’s decline in health and exploring her own identity and meaning, and she shapes her sometimes practical but often mystical thoughts and reflections through writing letters to her father, who she has never met, in the conversational tone of a pen pal writing to someone who will love her and her words unconditionally. 

Luna stumbles into encounters that shape her life dramatically, in unorthodox and heartbreakingly meaningful ways. I simultaneously wanted to scoop her up and take care of her and to follow the lead of this wise-beyond-her-years, intensely spiritual young person. 

I received a copy of this book through John Hunt Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Twelve-year-old Luna is trying to make the world light in the midst of darkness, darkness caused by her mother’s illness and her father’s absence. Born in Norway, she now lives in Washington with her mother. Her father, who she never knew lives on the other side of the world in Greece – the father her mother called “a waste of space, a useless wannabe artist and a crazy-maker”, ironically also what she calls Luna when her imagination runs away with her.

In a series of letters to her father we are drawn into Luna’s vivid, imaginative world – one where she can swim in the air, where trees bring her comfort and she sees golden threads between people who love each other. There’s no doubt that Luna is a sensitive soul, wise beyond her years.

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This Is All He Asks of You by Anne Egseth takes the reader into the mystical world of 12-year-old Luna. Unlike modern-day fantasy worlds, it tells of golden-light, swim-flying and happy experiences with trees. 

Luna, a young woman starting her adult life, receives a box from her dear friend, Garrick. The box contains letters from Luna to her Father, a man she had never met.  The main part of the story tells of 12-year-old Luna, an only child, who lives with her terminally ill Mother. Her way of dealing with her emotions is to write to her Father. She writes about her everyday life and shares her dreams and insights, often in a way that is beyond her age.  When Luna retreats into her fantasy world of swim-flying, golden-light and whispering trees, she can find hope and peace during the traumatic time of losing her Mother. Throughout the book, Luna is shown kindness by strangers who give her support and shape her life. At the end of the book, Luna once again faces loss, this makes her realise how she lost her ability to see the golden-light.

At first, it was difficult to engage in the story but after a few chapters, the simple acceptance of what life gave Luna was endearing. Her ability to see things at face value as well as find a deeper meaning in events gave her character substance.  The book speaks of innocence and seeing the good in people. It gives hope and courage to those that face heartache and loss. The title becomes clear near the end of the book, making the reader aware that life will never ask more of you than what you can give.

A good read that leaves one with a yearning to live life as a child again. How grand it would be to swim-fly through golden-light when adulthood seems to ask more than what we can give?
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Thank you to NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing for an advance reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I realize that I’m in the minority here when I say I did not like this book. It felt like the daily ramblings of a 12 year old, except in this case she doesn’t know her dad and she has written these in the form of letters  addressed to him.

2 ⭐️
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A lovely story told in the voice of a twelve year old girl.  Luna is a child whose mother is dying.  Luna longs for her father, who she never met,  and she writes letters to him that she will never send.  She is a lonesome and afraid but also very brave.  Her future is uncertain.  When Luna’s mother takes a turn for the worse it is the strange neighbor, who she has befriended, who assists her and provides the parental care she needed during this horrific and scary time.
I loved the voice of Luna and I really liked how there is closure in this short book by having Luna reach adulthood at the age of 22.   Luna is able to reflect back on her life and to finally reach her goal of finding her father.  This is not a large book but it is packed with emotion and nostalgic feelings.    
I received an ARC from Netgalley and the publisher.  This is my unbiased review.
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The description of This is All He Asks of You drew me in and I devoured the book in just two days. Anne Egseth’s debut novel is written through the voice of 12 year old Luna, it is written with passion, love, fear, strength and innocence. 

Luna writes letters to her father whom she has never met. Her mother tells her he is a useless artist and a searcher of miracles. Luna has a vivid imagination, she talks about swim-flying In the air to a place where she can merge with her surroundings and where she can head to a place where she can find good feelings. Her mother is constantly telling her she needs to stop dreaming and focus on the real world and that she needs to stop being a “crazymaker”. Garrick an older neighbor, who slowly paces in his yard everyday at the same time, becomes Luna’s savior. I feel like I entered their souls and that I  know Luna and Garrick from the inside out. 

The second part of the book is narrated by 22 year old Luna. From the time Luna is 12 until she is 22 her soul is lost and her body is frozen. Will she find what she needs to move on with her life and swim-fly again, finding the golden liquid light? 

Thank you NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you are looking for something different filled with innocence and love you will enjoy this book.
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This Is All He Asks of You by Anne Egseth
By Dawn Thomas

152 Pages
Publisher: John Hunt Publishing Ltd
Release Date: May 29, 2020

Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Luna is twelve-years old living in Washington, D.C. with her mother. She is very spiritual and experiences life more in depth than other people. She skips school one day to see a Saint from India. She sits in bliss most of the day and her mother is frantic when she finally returns home. The book is written as letters to her father. She has never met him but still wants to contact him. When her mother becomes sick and goes to the hospital unexpected, she stays with her neighbor, Garrick, a Viet Nam war veteran.

This book is a fast reading and I finished it in one sitting. The characters are well developed and the story flows well. The majority of the book is written from the perspective of a young girl. The scenery is very descriptive, and I was completely hooked. I highly recommend this book to anyone that likes books about experiencing life.
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Very moving...
12 yr old Luna tells her story mostly in letters that she writes to her father who is unknown to her..she doesn’t remember ever seeing or knowing him, but knows he lives in Greece from what she’s been told.
As she continues writing these letters we learn more about her life.  She feels as she is different from others and she’s always searching for “the light” When something feels right to her, she gets a beeping in her ear.
Her mother is ailing and she becomes friends to a Vietnam Vet who lives next door, Garrick.. he seems to be fighting some demons himself, but this ends up being such a beautiful friendship and he is real rock for her as parts of her life crumble, he is there to see her through.
This is a story that encompasses nature, loneliness, and the power of light and love in our lives.

 Thank you to Netgalley and John Hunt Publishing and Roundfire Books for the ARC!
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This Is All He Asks of You by Author Anne Egseth Is a story about twelve year old Luna and the letters she has written, but not sent to a father she has never known.

The book is both beautiful and sad, as her mother is dying from Cancer

A story that is realistic and has an innocence in the young girls words and thoughts

Thank to NetGalley, John Hunt Publishing Ltd and Author Anne Egseth For my advanced copy to read in exchange for my review.
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This is a sweet, funny and warm coming of age story about a 12 year girl called Luna who has a very sick mother and an absent father.  Luna and her neighbour Garrick are beautifully drawn characters, She's trusting, brave and straightforward; he is quiet, kind and wise. 

Overall, there is a lot of kindness in this book. It reminded me a lot of My Name is Leon.  This is All He Asks of You is a lovely and quietly uplifting read - definitely recommended.
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Short review:
I liked how the author maintains the tone of a 12-year-old's musings, which is rarely done right in YA Lit.

Full review available on Goodreads. Thank you, John Hunt Publishing Ltd, for providing me with the ARC.
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This Is All He Asks of You focuses on the story of Luna, a young girl who expresses her reality living with a terminally ill mother through a series of letters she writes to a father she has never met. Wise beyond her years, you feel as if you are living inside the skin of this young girl, where you see what she sees and feels what she feels in all its beauty and melancholy. 

Her letters are incredibly moving. 

She questions the fine line between life and death, "I wonder what happens to the light I see in people's bodies after they die";
..the importance of living in the moment,

"..nothing was complicated. If I just focused on the taste of the drink, and on the pie, and on the neighbour across from me, then everything was simple, and it felt good in my whole body, like honey"

..and she wonders what her father is like, “Mom sometimes tells me that I have your eyes. If that is so, we must be seeing the same kind of things.”

She feels responsible for her mother and the illness that is stealing her away, and yet feels helpless and angry with the father she doesn’t know. “I am only twelve years old,” she tells him, and “I wouldn’t have had to listen to all of this if you were around”.

Reading for me is not only about plot, but it’s the dance of the words and this book is a ballet! You feel that Anne Egseth has carefully and lovingly placed every word on the page, and in line with the strong theme of the ocean in the book, you can’t help feel that you are floating upon the prose, being gently led throughout the story.

I also love how the author has linked Luna’s nightmares of rescuing her mother from the dark sea with the lives lost in the ocean of refugees trying to make their way to safety from their nightmares in their home countries.

One critique I would make is I would have loved the story to continue a little longer. I feel that the book comes to an abrupt ending. We have experienced all of Luna’s thoughts getting to this point and I would have loved to stay in her head a little longer as she processed the new direction her life was taking as a young woman.

This is a remarkable first novel by Egseth, one that I know will keep on giving with a re-read. I haven’t stopped thinking of Luna since, to be honest. I really look forward to reading more of this author’s work in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
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A story that travels back and forth through time, from Norway in 2018, to Washington, DC in 2007 where it remains for the majority of this story. A story told mainly through the letters that twelve year-old Luna writes to her father, a father she has never met. A story of a young girl that is not only profoundly poignant, lovely, it has a sense of poetry and grace that seems so true to what this young girl is going through in her life.

’This is my attempt to create chronology, continuity and coherence out of a time I had wiped out of my memory. I don’t claim this is exactly what it was; this is me weaving a net of words, trying to catch this elusive, slippery voice from the past. I am following the thread back to a frozen girl buried deep inside my body; a twelve-year old who disappeared the day the light went out. As I write I remember, and as I remember, I create.’

As this story begins, she has just received a parcel, a shoe-box filled with the letters she had written but never sent, poems, photographs, even homework from her childhood, sent to her by an old friend, someone who kept it for her for ten years, and sends it to her at her Uncle’s in Norway, where she is staying. Words she had forgotten that she ever wrote, and it’s through these words that she remembers those days when she was twelve.

’I imagine that the trees are my family. The Oak in our backyard is a kind grandfather. I sit with my back against his strong trunk when I feel small. The Ash tree is speedy and brave, a superhero big brother, shooting fiery branches up towards the sky. There is an Ash down in the park that I sometimes visit when I’m feeling scared and don’t know what to do. The Azaleas in our front yard may not be trees, but I think of them as my beautiful cousins who come to visit in the spring, all dressed up in amazing red. The Cherry trees along our street are my aunties, and when they bloom my head spins with happiness, as they are the most beautiful aunties I could ever wish for.’

Living next door to Luna is a Vietnam Vet, a man she watches as he snail walks…very, very slowly, a man her mother, who is frequently not feeling well, dislikes. When her mother’s illness sends her to the hospital, he takes care of Luna, and eventually they become friends, a temporary, guardian / friend.

Luna is such a remarkable child, and her story is shared through beautiful prose, but this is a story that deserves to just be experienced for what it is - a lovely, moving story, one that I couldn’t, didn’t put down, and one I highly recommend.

Pub Date: 29 May 2020

Many thanks for the ARC provided by John Hunt Publishing Ltd.
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I feel like this is a tough one to review... while I love the description of light and the pursuit of internal peace, I struggled because I was very confused for much of the book. 

It is only in the external copy (not included in the narrative) that I found out Luna was 12 - and so I didn’t understand if she was innocent because she was young, or naive because she was sheltered, and this confusion made it hard for some of the more poignant moments to really resonate. Since I didn’t understand Luna’s age, the first bit of the book had me recalling ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue. 

I do full on admit to crying, and having to go back and reread sections because I missed pieces through the tears- and the transition of light was beautifully crafted. 

Final thoughts; interesting story told in an unconventional way with unique perspective.
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Luna reads through letters she wrote as a child and relives the memories of that painful yet precious and formative time in her life. She never knew her father and her mother is now dying, still determined to not share the name of Luna’s father. I loved the fond memories Luna has of her mother but I can’t forgive her for not being forthcoming, especially while on her death bed.
That aspect aside, the walk down memory lane will trigger memories with anyone who has a heart. The eloquent writing, the perspective through a young girl’s eyes, the inevitable end that you know is coming all make this a heartwarming yet difficult read. 
The ending was a bit of a surprise, no spoilers here, but I really thought we would end with a nice warm soft blanket wrapped around us. We didn’t. This makes this story so much more relatable. Life isn’t always fair, and Anne Egseth portrays this motto in such an eloquent way.
(I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thank you to John Hunt Publishing and NetGalley for making it available.)
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Two things drew me to this book. I love epistolary novels and child narrators always affect me with their combination of innocence and wisdom, but what sealed the deal, and made me request an advanced copy of this book was the mention in the brief description of  “human connection”. That’s what so much of life is about all of the time, but it feels especially important during this time when it’s difficult to be with family and friends. We visit in driveways and open spaces sitting apart with our masks on or touch the screen wishing we could hug. Virtual hugs and air kisses don’t seem enough, but they offer us a bit of the normal. I may be digressing, but it was hard not to think about this while reading.

Twelve year old Luna’s letters written to the father she never knows, beautifully and painfully express that need for connecting with each other. I’m not sure this one will be for everyone. It’s sometimes hard to believe that these profound thoughts are those of a twelve year old girl, but at the same time,  there is something so genuine and innocent here . She’s lonely and afraid , grieving, needing someone to connect with. Her only friend was back in Norway until she meets her next door neighbor, Garrick, a Vietnam vet, who walks and walks around his backyard. The gift of friendship that he and Luna share when she is in Washington, DC and then continuing when she returns to Norway where she was born was touching and brought some light to this otherwise sad story. The beautiful gift that Garrick gives to Luna in the end brought tears, but they were good ones.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Roundfire Books through NetGalley.
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I thought this was beautifully poetic in its simplicity and writing.  Something about the blurb drew me in as I would not normally engage with this type of book.  I absolute loved it and read it in one sitting pretty much.  It manages to capture poignancy, heartbreak whilst being uplifting at the same time.  Recommended for something different.
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