All the Money in the World by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

What would you do if you had all the money in the world? Sarah Moore Fitzgeralds’ new book ponders that very question. Fitzgerald is an incredible writer! She has taken us on many journeys through the lives of a wide variety of ordinary young people, all trying to deal with circumstances beyond their control. From Back to Blackbrick through A Strange Kind of Brave, each story expresses their courageous and bold determination to change things, to make a real difference and to do what’s right. And All the Money in the World does it again!


author: Sarah Moore Fitgerald

Orion Childrens Books (8 July 2021)

ISBN: 9781510104143

Fifteen-year-old Penny is living in a small, damp place with her mother. Like all the other residents, she and her friends Matt and Kitty fight daily battles against mold, bullying classmates, disinterested teachers and a building supervisor that simply can’t be bothered. In the backyard of The Flats (in former times Rosemary House… a beautiful mansion) they entertain themselves with games, schemes and plans, but Penny longs for something more…something better than the day in, day out misery and poverty that has always cast its’ long shadow over their lives. But what? Meanwhile, in Lavender House next door, its’ elderly owner, Violet Fitzsimmons lurks behind the curtains. No one ever sees Violet; it’s said she only comes out after dark…and perhaps, she is a witch who traps young people in her cellar. One evening, Penny gets trapped in her back garden and learns something unusual that belies all the rumours. An accident causes Penny and Violet to strike up an unlikely friendship. And suddenly, it seems possible that of all of Pennys’ dreams could come true. She begins to realise that not only can she change her life, but she can change herself! All it takes is some hard work, a few white lies…and all the money in the world. But at what cost?

In this timely, fascinating novel about friendship, identity, privilege, social background and “cold hard cash,” Fitzgerald explores the impact of poverty on the lives of young people and the possibility that everyone may not be what they seem. That maybe we should look a little deeper before deciding who a person is. Can money really buy you happiness? Does it change who you are? While it is certainly true that money makes a difference in someones’ life, the kind of difference it makes is down to the individual.

Penny is a wonderful character; a typical school girl; kind, intelligent, exhausted by the daily struggle, trying however she can to improve not only her situation, but that of those around her. Keeping secrets and telling little white lies puts her relationships with friends and neighbours, her mother and her new found friendship with Violet to the test in surprising ways, causing new struggles and some perfectly expressed confusion concerning what is real and what is important. Violet shines as a character! Elusive, filled with secrets of her own, she plays a wonderful foil and benefactor to Penny in so many ways. The changes that each affect in the other are quite remarkable, and beautifully expressed. The pair stand as polar opposites and yet, strikingly similar. Together, they dance around each other, creating a dialogue that moves the story to different levels of understanding. The reader will find themselves routing for both every step of the way.

The writing itself is glorious; fluid, expressive, clever and coming from the heart. The pace is steady, never faltering as it gives each characters view and emotion. As the story unfolds, each new scene and new secret is revealed with a subtle, purposeful hand. This gives us a story that is impossible to walk away from…you live it alongside the characters and join in with their struggles, adventures and hopes. As it comes to its’ conclusion and Penny learns the lesson she was meant to all along, the impact and atmosphere are perfectly reflected in the exquisite telling of the tale. Thoughtful, tender, heartfelt, exciting and simply wonderful!

I want to thank Hachette/Orion Childrens Books and, especially Sarah Moore Fitzgerald for the prepublication proof copy of yet another glorious book! I am so grateful.

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