The competition where you’ve a chance to win a signed copy of Kate Long’s new novel is still running here, but in the meantime…

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I’m a fool to myself. I really am. I buy so many books or, if I’m lucky, get sent them and then take a bloody age to read them. So, firstly let me apologise to those author friends of mine whose books I’ve bought but not read. I will do. I promise.

So. I’ve had In Search of Adam, by the lovely and stupidly talented Caroline Smailes for, umm, just over a year. And I’ve only just read it.

My excuse, as is often the case, is when it’s something I’ve a fair idea I’ll love, I want to put it off until I find the time where I can enjoy it properly. And here’s the thing: when it’s a good book, when it IS something I love, I DO find the time.

And love In Search of Adam I did. So very much.

Jude’s only six years old when she finds her mother dead; she’s killed herself and the note she’s left reads: ‘Jude, I have gone in search of Adam.’

And so begins Jude’s journey. It’s a struggle against all the odds (including neglect and abuse) and what’s so wonderful about the story is that it’s never, ever sensationalised or sugar-coated. It is what it is: real, heart-breaking, brave, captivating and, as Dave Hill says on the back of the book, ‘handled with outstanding sensitivity’.

What I also loved was how brave and clever the formatting is – at times the words on the page represent perfectly the scattered, confused thoughts of a desperate young girl

This could be my book of the year. Caroline Smailes’ second novel, Black Boxes, almost claimed top spot last year and her third, Like Bees to Honey, is published in a couple of months; I am looking forward to it so, so much.

You can read me interviewing Caroline here.

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