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Review: How to be me by Cath Howe

A funny, touching story of friendship and grief for ages 9+.

Lucas is a lonely child who lives in a mansion with his father, two cats, an au pair and his father’s new fiancé. All he wants to do is stay home during the summer holiday, play his piano and be with his cats. But his dad has other plans. Tired of what he sees as Lucas’s weird behaviour, Dad books Lucas a summer drama club in the hope that he will be less introverted. ⁠

Lucas and his dad have struggled to understand each other since Lucas’s mum died a few years back. Dad spends too much time at work. Drama club is Lucas’s worst nightmare, but it could also be the very thing he needs. At the club Lucas meets Keely. She is loud, confident and everything that Lucas isn’t. She also has a big loving family and as the summer goes on, Lucas begins to spend more and more time with them. Keely thinks that Lucas has everything because he lives in a mansion but it soon becomes clear that he has a lot missing from his life. ⁠

Lucas is a really shy, introverted character who has also suffered a huge loss. It was really sad that his dad wouldn’t talk about his mum’s death and we see that his dad also had lots of unresolved issues. The relationship that Lucas builds with Keely and her family is very touching. I really enjoyed this sweet middle grade book and will read more from this author.

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