Children's books: Lark by Anthony McGowan, Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu
CHILDREN'S BOOK OF THE WEEK
Lark by Anthony McGowan is published in hardback by Barrington Stoke, priced £7.99 (ebook £4.99)
A GRIPPING story about two young brothers who find their lives in danger during an adventure on the moors. Nicky and Kenny, with their dog Tina, find themselves ill prepared and vulnerable when snow hits and darkness falls. Lark is the fourth, and final, instalment in Anthony McGowan's series about the brothers, who are raised by their father after their mum leaves home. The first, Brock, was not originally designed to have a sequel but McGowan said the boys' story seemed unfinished and he continued their adventures in Pike and Rook. The award-winning young adult fiction author said he wrote Lark to give Nicky and Kenny "one last trial, one last adventure". Lark has dyslexia friendly features and is aimed at teenagers with a reading age of around nine. But the author's vivid writing and tense plot has enough pace and drama for this short novel to entertain any audience.
Review by Beverley Rouse
Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu is published in paperback by Hodder Children's Books, priced £7.99 (ebook £4.99)
DEVOTED tells the story of Rachel Walker, who is raised in a strict Calvinist Christian family in a remote Texan town. Rachel's life is controlled in every way, from what she wears to where she goes, to what she should and shouldn't read. Her parents decide every aspect of how she must live, and her life is already mapped out for her: Marriage, children, modesty and obedience to her future husband. Rachel lives in the shadow of her older sister Faith, who seems the perfect Christian, with husband and children as expected. Her younger sister Ruth always knows what to say in her prayers too, whereas Rachel can never find the right words. But when someone from the community's past returns - a girl who escaped this narrow world - Rachel's life is turned upside down. When the two girls make contact, Ruth faces a life-changing decision. This is a story about one woman's fight to live life to its fullest. The characters and the setting are very believable, the storyline is full of drama, and we cheer Rachel on all the way.
Review by Isla Brotzel, aged 11