Review: How to be Brave by Daisy May Johnson

Title: How to Be Brave

Author: Daisy May Johnson

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Pushkin Press

The Blurb

A fizzingly funny, heartfelt middle-grade novel about a resourceful girl, her impractical mother and a kidnapping mystery.

Calla’s mum has never been normal. She’s been known to go out in a lab coat and slippers and often forgets to perform basic tasks because she’s been thinking about ducks. When a job offer arrives to study her beloved birds in the Amazon rainforest, Calla knows her mum has to go. Nervously, she agrees to go to boarding school.

She quickly learns that trouble is afoot in this odd convent school. A mean new headmistress is imposing horrible rules and making everyone eat Brussels sprout cake, and the students are itching to revolt. As Calla makes new friends and gets drawn into their rebellious plot, she keeps waiting for her mum to call. She will, won’t she?

Exuberantly funny and brimming with heart, How to Be Brave is a riotous celebration of the power of resourceful girls, stories and the right biscuit at the right time.

The Review

One of the tropes in books that I have loved since I was a little girl is main character forced to go to boarding school. The books of my youth made them seems o magical with midnight feasts and a gaggle of new friends and ultimately some evil to conquer. Daisy May Johnson’s How to be Brave plays into this so very well that it sparked in me a long forgotten love.

It is the story of Calla, a young girl who has taken up residence in a boarding school while her mum goes on an expedition of a life time. However, through this multigenerational tale we also see that nefarious people are in this school with an evil agenda to complete.

How to be Brave is a survival story and shows how collectively people can conquer evil. It is a joyous romp and leaves you smiling.

A very heart warming story.

How to be Brave by Daisy May Johnson is available now.

For more information regarding Daisy Mae Johnson (@chaletfan) please visit

For more information regarding Pushkin Press (@PushkinPress) please visit

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