Blossom by Tamsin Janu (Omnibus Books for Scholastic Australia)
Lottie opens the door to find a strange little girl, clutching a flower and silent except for buzzing and clicking. Lottie is sympathetic to Blossom, having been in foster homes herself, before being taken in by Uncle Bobby. Blossom turns out to be a difficult ‘temporary sister’ to put up with, and needs protection from the adult world — including a profit-seeking neighbour, the media and medical staff — when she is found to bleed green blood …
A strength of the book is its mastery of the vernacular. Uncle Bobby, who works at the tip, and his friend Travis are convincing working-class characters, rare in books for middle-primary age. The fantasy thread is woven lightly into a fabric of realism. Although the book has an easily read, accessible style, there is subtlety in the gradual disclosure of Blossom’s ‘alien’ nature. Subtlety, too, in the parallels between her experiences and those of asylum seekers and other outsiders.