While I enjoyed, How to be me by Cath Howe, I felt it lack the depth and originality of Cath Howe’s first novel, Ella on the Outside. The plot for How to be me is a well-used one. A child, in this case, Lucas, finds it difficult to fit in socially but unexpectedly finds a friend, Keely, who helps him to recognise and use his skills in a project that benefits others.
It’s difficult to know how old Lucas is supposed to be. His mother died about three years previous and he started school about the same time but he may have been taught by private tutors before this. Lucas acts like a preteen and expects more independence than his father allows. His father is a wealthy, successful businessman who has recently become engaged to Vanessa. This small family live in an overly large house. Lucas’ father is too busy to engage with his son who still struggles with his mother’s death. Lucas is often cared for by au-pairs but this doesn’t provide a consistency of care.
During the school holidays, Lucas’ father arranges for Lucas to participate in a drama club with the idea of helping him to be more outgoing. Lucas is horrified but has no choice but to attend. At the drama club he meets, Keely. It’s difficult to determine Keely’s motives as she pursues a friendship with Lucas. She is often bossy, almost bullying, and yet also seems to take a genuine interest in him. Keely’s family run a bakery not far from Lucas’ house. Here, Lucas finds the acceptance and empathy missing from his own family.
While the story has a satisfying feel to it. I didn’t find it well written and the plot lacked some originality.
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