Being Here

by Barry Jonsberg

A friendship blossoms when 16-year-old Carly interviews feisty 93-year-old Leah for her local history project and Leah shares her fascinating life’s story—of a girl whose rich imagination rescues her from a grim reality, and an unlikely boy who changes everything

The boy sat in the branches of the fifth tree on the left, his scuffed boots dangling. Leah turned her eyes up. His face was heavily freckled, his eyes large, brown and almond-shaped. His hair stuck out at wild angles. ‘Hello,’ she said.

When Leah Cartwright was five years old her father went to the barn, put a shotgun in his mouth, and pulled the trigger. Soon afterwards a boy appeared to Leah, in a tree in the orchard—a secret friend. Leah called him Adam, and she grew to love him. As a child on an isolated farm with only her fierce yet loving mother and her dog, Pagan, for company, Leah treasured books—the stories within them and the places they could take her. Now she is old, and a gifted storyteller, so when 16-year-old Carly interviews her for her local history project, Leah uses the magic of story to draw Carly into her present, her past, her secrets, and her unique friendship with Adam. This beautifully told novel is a bittersweet tale of hope, faith, consequences, and true love.