Jenny Blackford, Fil and Harry, Christmas Press, May 2021, 103 pp., RRP $15.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780648815402
Fil is having a bad time: her best friend Kirsten has been avoiding her, her step mum seems at war with her visiting grandma and her brother barely speaks to her. Nothing seems to be going right, when one afternoon, Fil’s cat Harry, begins to talk! She’s always suspected he could, if he made the effort, but now that he is, she’s doesn’t always agree with what he has to say! This is a charming junior fiction novel for younger readers about navigating friendships, furry felines, and families and, thanks to that straight-talking cat, facing up to hard truths, even if it means accepting that the popular kid at school might not be worthy of your friendship after all. Jenny perfectly captures how tricky being young can be, the importance of believing in yourself and standing up to bullies, which is all a little easier when you have family and a cat-like Harry.
Reviewed by Deborah Abela