Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky – book review

Garden in the SkyFrom the Prime Minister’s Literary Award winning author, Robert Newton comes a novel full of heart, warmth and friendship.

A violent incident sparks an unlikely and surprising friendship between a young girl and an old man, leading to an adventure that brings both drama and understanding to their lives in contemporary Melbourne.

Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky is a delightful and compelling tale with a strong sense of contemporary multicultural Australia and a vivid cast of characters.

This book was incredibly dark at times for a middle-grade / younger YA novel, but its poignancy and uplifting nature is what made it an absolutely unputdownable read. What happens in the beginning is quite horrific and the circumstances that these main characters find themselves in are concerning. This isn’t an easy read at times, but its a necessary one, and one which shows that sometimes the worst situations can give way to hope by having a friend by your side. Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky is a raw and heart-warming novel that I devoured in one go.

The thing I loved most about this book was the way in which these tough situations were portrayed in such a raw and realistic way. There was no sugarcoating the hardships of a girl living with a mother addicted to drugs in a housing commission, and I think it’s necessary to write about the struggles some younger teenagers like Lexie have to deal with. The only tale I can compare this one to is Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls — both are heart-wrenching and powerful, and both are a must-read.

I absolutely adored the three main characters in this beautiful story, and it was their authenticity which made them people I couldn’t help but love spending time with. Their friendship was a natural progression from getting to know one another to an unbreakable bond, and I loved being taken on this journey with them. They were able to help one another in different ways and they all came to realise that life can be hard, but you don’t have to deal with your struggles alone. The powerful messages about compassion and empathy are what truly makes Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky a book that will stay with you long after the final page. For everyone looking for a short but incredibly touching read, I can’t recommend this one enough.


4 Stars

Let's Talk

What are some of your favourite middle grade / younger YA novels? Do you read a lot of books with similar themes? Have you read any novels set in Melbourne? I’d love to know!

Thanks to Penguin Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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9 thoughts on “Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky – book review

  1. Sounds great! Thanks for the review (:
    Also, just wondering: do you take review requests? There are a few books that I would love to hear your opinion on, like Maximum Ride, The Sherwood Ring, or Ender’s Game, but I’m not sure if you mainly do YA or if you take requests at all haha.

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