In protagonist, Freya, Julia Green combines the contradiction of binding a palpable zeal for life together with the grief of losing her brother, Joe. The result is that an affinity between the reader and Freya is instantly wrought and it is upon this special relationship that its subtlety and, at times, jagged, raw, emotional truths depend.
Mia shares a highly unusual relationship with her brother Jamie, one that is dominated by obsessive fascination. The reasonsfor this appear to be apparent from the outset, their mother suffers depressives phases, the severity of which has increased since the death of her father.
E. E. Richardson
“Nick didn’t answer. The ring ofmetal around his arm burned like a radiator, getting progressively harder to bear as it stayed pressed against his skin. Where the hell was the heat coming from?
Looking for a gift for his mother, Nick Spencer calls in at a shop intrigugingly named BARGAINS. Inside the shop his curiousity is raised by the strange glass orbs that are displayed there. They are like paperweights and each contains a captivating image and a sense of knowledge or sense of skill related to their subject accompanies their being held. The shop owner, a malign Mr Grey, brokers a deal with Nick whereby he will trade a drawing for one of the orbs. The deal, however, involves rather more than one of his drawings and Nick is horrified on realising the extent of the bargain he has undertaken with Mr Grey.
In an attempt to regain what has been lost, Nick brokers another deal with Mr Grey and becomeshis assistant. He quickly finds himself embroiled in situations that are increasingly uncomfortable and that draw more and more fully upon his time and emotions.
E. E. Richardson writes the dark arts credibly, she has a full understanding as to the lasting effects neurosis plays upon the psyche and the means this has to cripple its subjects. A memorable and strongly written novel.
Marion Lloyd Books
It is the subtext of Sally Nicholls second novel that makes it so powerful. There is a sense of pain and of grief that permeates through the novel and nowhere is this more poignantly felt than in the absence of Molly and Hannah’s cripplingly bereaved father, a gap that gains a weight of significance every bit as heavy as the sudden, unexpected death of their mother.
Dean Vincent Carter
Dark tendrilsof water streaked across the floor like tentacles seeking something to grab hold of. They all stopped to watch in shock as the wide, slow-moving water saturated the carpet and spread round the corner out of sight.
After taking part in a race and succumbing to severe dehydration, Sean finds himself embroiled in a nightmare scenario whereby a newly discovered creature has unleashed a deadly threat upon humanity in its quest not only for survival, but for complete dominance.
Surrounding this central storyline, the town concerned is subject to severe flooding, a fact that notches tension levels to dizzying new heights, introducing a sense of isolation into the plight of brothers Sean and James who endeavour to avert the catastrophe facing their hometown.
Underpinning the action, adenture and the brooding malevolence that saturates each page, seeping its way into readers’ imaginations, there is a real sense of urgency and danger. Dean Vincent Carter has a tangible awareness as to the way fear manifests itself upon us and the loss of control that affects the afflicted in the novel is genuinely chilling.
A frightening expose of the role abnormal psychology plays in determining survival and evolution, and one whose reach can easily be transposed upon parts of humanity’s history, this represents another fine offering to the young adult horror genre.
This is a jaw-droppingly impressive debut novel. It brought to mind two other extraordinarilly good novels – The Collector by John Fowles and Z for Zacchariah by Robert O’Brien – as it will for other readers familiar with those books, and it says much for Lucy Christopher’s promise as an author that her first novel can stand proudly side by side with those two titles.