Publisher:Walker Books Australia
Release Date:1st July 2009
Book Preview: "Letters to Leonardo"
In this compelling new contemporary YA novel Matt Hudson gets a fifteenth birthday card from his "dead mother". Where has she been for the last ten years?
Feeling he can't trust anyone living, Matt copes with the turmoil of his mother's reappearance and mental illness by writing letters to his dead idol Leonardo da Vinci.
Matt realises that life and the choices people make for love, art or their better judgement aren't always clear cut - and that sometimes, finding out the truth can be worse than not knowing.
I started reading Letters to Leonardo and couldn’t put it down. I was so wrapped up in Matt’s world, I was moved to tears a couple of times. There’s a good balance of angst and serious relationship issues, interspersed with touches of humour and insights into the teenage world and especially this troubled family. I think it’s particularly effective that the whole story is not told in the text, that snippets of Matt’s story are told only in his letters to his favourite artist, as though he finds it far too confronting to even reveal these problems to the reader. These letters add another dimension to the story and also reveal very interesting insights into Leonardo’s life and work. Matt knows him well. The book is written in a straightforward style and while it doesn’t shy away from the seriousness of Matt’s situation and his relationships, it doesn’t get bogged down and overly bleak. Although it hasn’t got a chocolate box ending, the resolution is satisfying and reinforces the need for honesty and compassion in families. It’s about life and it moves on, as we all learn that life does.
Reviewed by: Margaret Hamilton AM
"To my darling Matt,
I don't expect you to understand why I'm sending this. I'm not even sure I do. I think about you every day. Not one of my birthdays goes by without me wishing I could see and hold you in my arms.
It gets harder every year.
I promised I wouldn't do this, but you're fifteen now - old enough to make your way in the world - old enough to know your own mother.
You never stopped being the brightest star in my universe.
Have a wonderful birthday, darling boy.
It can't be from Mum - she's dead! Dave told me how she died. Who would play such a sick joke?.....
I can't stop shivering. Can you have a heart attack and die of shock at fifteen?