A Million Things is the debut novel by Ms. Spurr. I hope to read more of her books with her writing style since it definitely grabbed me and didn't let go until "The End."


The Description

Publication Date: August 24, 2021

“An original and impressively assured debut. A gem of a novel.”
Graeme Simsion, New York Times bestselling author of The Rosie Project

A soaring, heartfelt debut following fifty-five days in the life of ten-year-old Rae, who must look after herself and her dog when her mother disappears.

For as long as Rae can remember, it’s been her and Mum, and their dog, Splinter; a small, deliberately unremarkable, family. They have their walks, their cooking routines, their home. Sometimes Mum disappears for a while to clear her head but Rae is okay with this because Mum always comes back.

So, when Rae wakes to Splinter’s nose in her face, the back door open, and no Mum, she does as she’s always done and carries on. She tends to the house, goes to school, walks Splinter, and minds her own business—all the while pushing down the truth she isn’t ready to face.

That is, until her grumpy, lonely neighbor Lettie—with her own secrets and sadness—falls one night and needs Rae’s help. As the two begin to rely on each other, Rae’s anxiety intensifies as she wonders what will happen to her when her mother’s absence is finally noticed and her fragile world bursts open.

A Million Things transforms a gut-wrenching story of abandonment and what it’s like to grow up in a house that doesn’t feel safe into an astonishing portrait of resilience, mental health, and the families we make and how they make us in return.

The Review

A Million Things by Emily Spurr started very slowly for me, but it was hard to put down once I was engaged. It was an emotional read that was heartbreaking in so many ways and had me crying and getting a sinus headache as a result.

Rae is ten years old, and her mother has abandoned her. She’s more mature than expected and seems to be pretty world savvy. Rae somehow is able to take care of herself and her dog, the house, the yard, pay bills, feed them both, get herself to school and buy food. Of course, she doesn’t fully understand the concept of money and having enough for all her needs, but neither do many adults. She befriends an older neighbor who has her own problems and is all alone. Although Lettie isn’t aware of everything going on in Rae’s life, just the little bit that Rae spills, they bond and are there for each other. When they are, things start to look up for both of them, or does it?

There are several twists and turns to the story, with everything having importance to the story even if it’s not right away. Rae talks with her mother in her mind, remembers things they’ve said and done, and uses some of it as a reminder of how to live her life. It was a rollercoaster of a ride with nosy neighbors who are sometimes more caring than expected, lots of smells that don’t belong, fear, sadness, injuries, and those looking and needing to communicate with her mother. 

Ms. Spurr wrote the characters with such a depth to them, and we get to know them and about their lives a little at a time. Rae’s dog was a powerful addition to the story and seemed to understand what Rae needed at times. There is sadness with the closure, but there are also some promising moments. 

And kudos to the cover designer. I absolutely loved the cover!

A Million Things is the debut novel by Ms. Spurr. I hope to read more of her books with her writing style since it definitely grabbed me and didn’t let go until “The End.”

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About The Author

Originally from Tasmania, Emily lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her partner, their twins and a deaf, geriatric cat.

Shortlisted for the prestigious Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Prize, A Million Things is her first novel. 



JoAnne Weiss
JoAnne Weiss
JoAnne Weiss, nee Montalbano, was born and raised in NYC until moving to CT with her family when she was 16 and she's never left. Married for 41 years with one grown son, she works in an elementary school office where she's been since it opened in 2003. Prior to that, she was an accountant in several corporations before becoming a stay at home mom for 12 years. JoAnne enjoys reading, traveling, spending time with her family, and extended family as well as with friends. She enjoys cooking and rarely uses a recipe the way it was intended but instead uses them and cooking shows to give her new ideas and suggestions. JoAnne has a huge bucket list of places she'd like to visit but has been lucky enough to travel to England, Italy, the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, and many states in the U.S. including Hawaii, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Maine among others. Some of JoAnne's favorite genres include contemporary romance, chick-lit, romantic suspense, and historical romances including regency and those set in the west. JoAnne is on several author's street teams and enjoys interacting with many of them on Facebook as well as reading their newsletters. She has been lucky enough to meet some of her favorite authors among them Susan Mallery, Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, Meg Tilly, Beatriz Williams, and Marie Bostwick. JoAnne took a road trip with her sister in the fall of 2019 and visited Nora Roberts' bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland for an authors' signing. She hopes to do more of this in the future. JoAnne leaves reviews for all books she reads on Goodreads and her reviews can be found at JoAnne currently reviews for two sites - and Previously she reviewed for which has since closed. Payment is in the form of receiving free books to read and review. Her mantra is too many books and not enough time!


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A Million Things is the debut novel by Ms. Spurr. I hope to read more of her books with her writing style since it definitely grabbed me and didn't let go until "The End."4 STAR REVIEW: A MILLION THINGS by Emily Spurr