Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mr Romanov's Garden in the Sky” as Want to Read:
Mr Romanov's Garden in the Sky
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mr Romanov's Garden in the Sky

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  215 ratings  ·  53 reviews
From the Prime Minister's Literary Award winning author, Robert Newton comes a novel full of heart, warmth and friendship.

A violent incident sparks an unlikely and surprising friendship between a young girl and an old man, leading to an adventure that brings both drama and understanding to their lives in contemporary Melbourne.

Mr Romanov's Garden in the Sky is a delightful
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 2017 by Penguin Australia (first published February 27th 2017)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mr Romanov's Garden in the Sky, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Marj Osborne Year 7 - 8. Conceptually it may seem suitable for younger students, however for me there's a bit of language in it and a few references to incidents…moreYear 7 - 8. Conceptually it may seem suitable for younger students, however for me there's a bit of language in it and a few references to incidents more suitable for Years 7 - 8. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  215 ratings  ·  53 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Mr Romanov's Garden in the Sky
Feb 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book left me really cross. I was willing to suspend belief for many aspects: when a widowed mother and her kid got into housing commission in central Melbourne immediately rather than the real 25 year wait; when a junkie's daughter used manners on a stranger; and that the police would take an unrelated drug dealer's missing person report seriously enough to install road blocks on the other side of the country. However, I lost it by the end when the protagonist's life was starting to fall ...more
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
I feel kind of sad giving this book two stars because it was very beautifully written. However, it just all seemed a bit off while I was reading and there were some situations that I thought were a little implausible, given that the novel is set in present day Australia. I liked the characters well enough but this book just fell really flat for me. There are a lot of very tough themes, which I didn't expect, and I almost stopped reading a few times-never a good sign.

This book just wasn't for
Fleur Ferris
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's brilliant. An absolute triumph. Highly recommend.
Michael Earp
Jan 20, 2017 rated it liked it
A good upper-middle-grade/lower-YA read of finding the right when everything is wrong.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The incident that happened at the start of this book nearly made me put the book down.... I found it quite horrific and devastating.
But I am glad I continued. This was a short book and well worth the read. The first third of the book was a chance to get to know each of the main three characters; Lexie, Davey and Mr Romanov. They each had their own crappy situations and had each learnt how to survive. I enjoyed watching the friendship grow between the two children Lexie and Davey - and Mr Romanov
Cass -  Words on Paper

Touching. <3 Mr Romanov was such a sweetheart, I wish we could have learnt even more about him, he is an enigma. The friendship that blossoms between the three characters was heart-warming, they all needed one another in the end. Newton addresses some heavy topics in this book but it felt hopeful in the end, if a little bit too "easy". More of a middle grade book. I liked the growing up aspect where Lexie has become more and more self conscious and wants to appear more feminine, but the
Alicia Papp
Apr 16, 2017 rated it liked it
An OK story for lower high school. I found the story to be fairly slight, in spite of the heroin addicted mother and the dead father. And this book is mis-named - Lexie, Davey and Mr Romanov spend so little time in the garden - this is more of a road trip novel, with Lexie fulfilling her long held wish of traveling to Surfer's Paradise. Nice idea, but far from being as good as When we were two - now that was a fabulous book! As an aside, I found the reference to the Twin Towers in the beginning ...more
Marj Osborne
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gorgeously crafted coming-of-age road trip novel. This is a really sweet story about two vulnerable teens who become friends with an old Russian man. Both have rather imperfect parents and set off on a journey of discovery to uncover answers to life questions. While a couple of incidents in the novel are improbable, they're a small part of getting us to where we need to be, of shining the light on our main characters and their development. This is a feel good quirky story which has a beautiful ...more
Angelique Simonsen
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this was such a gorgeous read. once i read past the horrible event at the beginning i really felt like i could connect with each character and had empathy for each in their situations. loved every minute of this YA story
Road trip! Sweet, poignant family/friendship story.

Lots to think about.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bree T
I’m in two minds about this book. On one hand, the writing is really lovely and the way in which Lexie befriends Mr Romanov is very beautifully done. On the other hand, there are a bunch of things that I can’t buy into and so it made it a bit hard to truly sink into the story.

Lexie lives in a block of housing commission flats in Fitzroy. Her mother is a junkie, always searching for her next fix and dodging appointments with the Department of Human Services who are understandably concerned about
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A raw opening leaves one in not much doubt as to some of the damaged individuals who inhabit the main character, Lexie's housing commission home. I felt very moved by this book. It is not totally original, there are many stories of 'misfits' forming unlikely alliances and sharing an adventure. But Lexie's balancing act - experiencing grief at the loss of father, grief at being the sensible 'adult' caring for her drug-addicted mother whilst facing a her own teen identity struggle - made me feel ...more
This book was not the story I was expecting from the title and cover - I was vaguely expecting something about gardening and friendship and nature in the city but this is very different.
There are big themes here - friendship, addiction, bullying, poverty, belonging and authority. There are absent parental figures and the reality of life and death for 13 year old Lexie and her friend Davey to deal with in the bleak surroundings of a Melbourne housing commission apartment block.
The story starts
Jodie Warner
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-ya-books
This is a good story, a nice story, which finishes a little too neatly and nicely for my liking. It starts gritty and tough, in a housing commission flat in Melbourne and with a particularly gruesome episode in which a dog is thrown off the top of the high rise. Yikes!

Three misfits, Lexie (daughter of a heroin addict mother), Davey (clever, weird kid) and Mr Romanov (sad, old man) embark on a road trip to Surfers Paradise- a journey of closure and self-discovery. Ho hum. Too nice and neat and
Pam Tickner
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very poignant young adult story of 13 year old Lexie, living in a housing commission estate in Fitzroy with her drug addict mother. Despite all the hardships, Lexie looks for the best in everyone (except her mother who has lost her respect). She teams up with two other social outcasts and goes on a road trip, which turns out to be more a journey for self discovery than for the destination. A really uplifting story.
Kesta Fleming
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was an interesting story with lots of heart, vivid characters, and set in housing commission flats in Melbourne, so different from many other YA books I’ve read. I’d highly recommend it. My one quibble is that the title makes you think it’s going to be chiefly about the garden, but it’s not. It’s an important part, but not really what the story is about. In spite of the slightly misleading title, the story is excellent.
Emily Norman
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautiful story that encourages inner strength, resilience and a quest to seek the positive side of life. I enjoyed every minute of the story!
A great book for young teenagers to either relate to or be informed by, the author encourages the reader to see the world through the low socioeconomic lens a young girl and her two down-trodden friends. Helpful for encouraging the development of empathy in younger teens.
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely story, and the author has done a fantastic job with the characters. Though it was in the YA section of my library, I think anyone could read it. It does deal with the harsh reality of life in a housing commission estate; Lexi, the main character, has lost her father and has a mother who is a drug addict. But it never becomes grim or hopeless, with the dream of a hopeful future driving the story forward (while keeping touch with reality). An enjoyable read.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was really interesting and I really enjoyed reading something from a younger characters perspective, that dealt with some really interesting themes, but ultimately it didn't quite grip me enough to want to keep reading it. I think it's very good and I'm sure other people will love it but ultimately it just wasn't for me.
Erin Blond
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novel has a combination of excitement and sadness all mixed into one. I love how it made you feel as if you were going on the adventure with Lexie, Mr Romanov and Davley. as a 13 year old i loved the way it was written with artistic vocabulary that portrayed a realistic and magical story.

One of my favorite books because it teaches you about how to stand up through the bad in life.
Raina Joseph
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Charming and endearing. There's something extra special about writing such a gritty story with the child-like innocence and simplicity that Newton manages. Albeit, I do have a soft spot for Australian authors because it feels nice knowing that I have been to the same places that the adventurers in the story visit.
Mistress Bast
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think I was expecting something for a slightly older audience. On reflection this would probably be quite a good book for middle school readers.

For me the plot was unlikely, and the characters were not engaging. Perhaps because I spent too much time thinking like an adult, not like a child.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Another one that made me cry, though did at times feel a little ... too juvenile, almost? This might have been to do with the character's POV and her somewhat annoying nature. I would still recommend it though.
Heather Boundy
A compelling story about the friendship between a lonely girl and an old man with a history who escape together in an attempt to make one of her dreams come true. Newton has a deft touch in making this contemporary story live.
Kerri Jones
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A sweet story in a gritty Melbourne setting of Fitzroy and the commission flats this is a story of unlikely friendships and even more unlikely destinations. Enjoy the ride. I did.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fable, road trip, family and lost people
Jun 23, 2019 added it
Shelves: lit-circles
Great story, I loved the characters. Very touching. Suited to better Year 7 readers, just over 200 pages.
Michele Barnes
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: p-mccleod
Easy read, fairly unrealistic in most parts but then it's nice to read a book where dreams come true.
Kim Miller
This beautiful YA Fiction novel has some beautiful moments. A story of grief, friendships, families and journeys.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • How to Bee
  • It Sounded Better in My Head
  • Lenny's Book of Everything
  • In the Dark Spaces
  • The Art of Taxidermy
  • Ballad for a Mad Girl
  • The Dog Runner
  • The Fall
  • The Secret Runners of New York
  • This is How We Change the Ending
  • Because of You
  • Hive (Hive #1)
  • The Bone Sparrow
  • Take Three Girls
  • The Weekend
  • The Colour of the Sun
  • The 13-Storey Treehouse
  • The Road to Winter (Winter, #1)
See similar books…
Robert Newton works as a full-time firefighter with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. His first novel, My Name is Will Thompson, was published in 2001. Since then he has written four other novels for young people, including Runner, which was published by Penguin in 2005. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and three daughters.