Hello everybody! Today, I’m absolutely thrilled to be sharing my review of Elle McNicoll’s stunning second book Show Us Who You Are, as part of the blog tour. Onto the post!
As you might know, Elle McNicoll’s debut A Kind of Spark was one of my very favourite things I read in 2019, but her second book Show Us Who You Are is one of the most impactful things I’ve read in my entire life. It follows an autistic girl named Cora, as she befriends a boy named Adrien, who has ADHD and is the son of the head of the mysterious Pomegranate Institute, who are trying to make it possible for people to speak to their dead loved ones or celebrities via hologram technology. But Pomegrenate’s intentions may not be as pure as they claim, and it’s up to Cora to work out what’s really going on.
The light this book shines on ableism and the experiences of disabled people is so vitally important, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I’ve seen certain experiences I’ve had reflected on the page before in this way, so I’m forever indebted to Elle for making me feel so seen. It particularly focuses on neurodiverse experiences but it also features moments I think anyone with a disability will be able to relate to, the way I do (I have a progressive genetic condition, which was largely invisible until I had to start using walking aids), because I spent a lot of this book in tears because so many things that happen to Cora, particularly at school, were so painfully relatable as I’ve had very similar experiences. I know that a lot of my experiences when I was younger and that taught me to be ashamed of who I was have shaped who I am and the way I see myself today, and I feel like reading this book gave me back pieces of myself I couldn’t even remember losing along the way. Seeing Cora and Adrien fight back against people who don’t want to accept them the way they are has reminded me that change is not only possible, but necessary, and I was just incredibly moved by it.
Along with this, it’s also just an absolutely incredible read, with a thrilling plot, characters who provoke such strong emotions (of both love and hatred, and you’ll know who I mean with the hatred when you read it!), and some absolutely outstanding twists. I seriously couldn’t put this down at all when I was reading because I got so caught up in the story, and I think it’s just perfectly crafted in every way, so if I was to list everything I loved about it this review would quite possibly carry on forever. Cora and Adrien’ friendship deserves a special mention, though, because it’s just the absolute loveliest one I’ve read in ages, and I especially loved the way they teach other to embrace their differences and support and love each other despite the frankly despicable way they are treated by many of the people around them. Also, one of the twists in here shocked me so much I literally gasped aloud, and I think the way the mystery unfolds is so fantastic.
This is just an absolute must read, and I’m so grateful so be able to share my review for it on this blog tour.
Show Us Who You Are by Elle McNicoll is out now, published by Knights Of. If you’d like to join her for the official launch event with Jen Campbell on 10th March, tickets are available at www.blackwells.co.uk/bookshops/events/.
Thank you so much for reading? Is this on your TBR? If you’ve already read it, what did you think? I’d love to hear in the comments!