I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to my contribution to the Always Here For You Blog Tour, celebrating the launch of Miriam Halahmys' new novel for young people.
Miriam Halahmy is one of the most pivotal, insightful authors for young people working today. Her subject matter touches those issues of wide concern in their lives; depression, bullying, homelessness, trying to navigate vulnerable family circumstances...and now online grooming and internet safety. While the internet has opened us up to widespread, valuable information and social contact and there is an argument to be made for its' contribution to cross-cultural understanding and empathy, it can also create a different level of vulnerability and be a dangerous place. Miriams' latest YA novel, Always Here For You tackles this very issue and demonstrates just how quickly and easy it is to fall into its' trap.

author: Miriam Halahmy
ZunTold (11 February 2020)
ISBN: 9781916204218
As Holly wakes up to the impatient ringing of the doorbell, she realizes that she is alone in the house…again. She’s fourteen; she should be able to handle it. Ever since Gran’s Crisis, Mum and Dad are spending much more time away from home. With her very best friend Amy living in Canada now, Holly is alone much of the time. The girls in school see Holly as “sooooo young.” They all have friends and boyfriends. No one is there for Holly. So, she turns to an online chatroom. Holly has had all the online safety lectures. She is smart; she knows what to do. After a few mild online disasters, Holly sees a shoutout from Becca at school introducing everyone to Jay, “a nice guy.” And she contacts him. It seems like magic. They have so much in common! Before she knows it, Holly is spending all of her time chatting with Jay, wrapped up in the comfort of his kind words and attention. Surely this is true love.  Within a week, he’s calling her his girlfriend and they meet up for their first real date. However, things don’t quite go to plan. Her lovely Jay is very different than she expected. Suddenly, everything turns very sour indeed. Holly is left in a dangerous situation, with nowhere to turn. She never imagined this could happen to her…
With stunning characterisation, this book paints a very realistic picture of just how easy it is to be taken in on the internet; to fall prey to online grooming and how, unlike many all too common perceptions, it isn’t always the ‘troubled’ or “bad” young people that are targeted. Steadily building the tension throughout the story, it tells the story of Holly; a bright, typical 14-year-old girl from a loving family. There is nothing about her that causes concern; apart from the abject loneliness she falls into after a series of ordinary life events that simply can’t be helped. The reader actually feels her emotions; the self-doubt, lack of confidence and sense of belonging at a vulnerable age. This sets the stage for what starts as something innocent and ends up as anything but. The insightful and precise building of the online relationship is a real eye-opener. Holly rides a real emotional roller-coaster, with all the highs of joy and excitement, the lows of loneliness, anger and confusion; the exhilaration of first love. But this is a darker, more threatening side of social networking; it's just that Holly doesn't know it. Jay subtly isolates her from friends and family, causing her to believe that he is the only one she needs. The depiction of manipulation are written so that the reader experiences this as much as Holly. As he increasingly plays on Hollys' feelings of isolation and her insecurities, while simultaneously building her attachment to him, the effect it has on the reader is palpable. We are shocked out of  innocence and complacency along with Holly when she learns that Jay isn't at all as he portrays himself. But now she is trapped, with no one and nowhere to turn. It takes a massive act of courage, of soul-searching for Holly to face what has happened and to seek help breaking out of Jays' grasp with a resolution that is nail-biting and dramatic. Beautifully written with a flowing, lyrical text, Always Here For You is compelling, sometimes harrowing, insightful, urgently important; as heartfelt and warm as it is heartbreaking. This is a book that must be read...and not just by young adults. It's one that is valuable for us all. I couldn’t put it down.

About the author:
Miriam Halahmy writes novels, short stories, song lyrics and poetry for children, teens and adults.She also pens articles and contributes to blogs. Miriam has been writing "since I could hold a pen." Her stories cover a wide-range of topics and issues very pertinent to young people today, giving a much needed, genuine voice to their interests, concerns and circumstances.
Miriam is a frequent guest at book festivals, conferences, and in colleges and schools. She enjoys meeting and engaging with readers and is known for her ability to speak on almost any subject - except rocket science!
Specialist publications include work for the BBC,Cancerbackup and the Refugee Council.
If you want more information on Miriam and her other incredible books, head over to her website. She'll be happy to hear from you.
You can also find Miriam on Facebook:
on Twitter @Miriam Halahmy
and in Instagram @miriamhalahmyauthor 


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