Monday, April 30, 2012

Book 56 - Raven Summer by David Almond - Northumberland, England

Liam and his friend Max follow a raven into the fields near their homes and there they discover a baby. She is is lying on top of a pile of stones with a note attached to her clothing, "Plese look after her rite. This is a childe of God." Liam takes her home to his father to find out what they should do. The Police ask the boys lots of questions but they only know that the raven led them to her. The baby is placed with a foster family but Liam's Mum asks if they can visit her. During their visit with the baby, now called Alison, they meet Oliver, a refugee from Liberia and Crystal who are also in the foster home and close to Liam's age. Liam's mother decides they should try to adopt Alison and soon Liam has Alison in his home as his sister. 

This is the main plot of this story yet it also has two very sinister sub plots which all seem to collide at the end of the book. One subplot involves Liam's neighbour and classmate Nattrass who is more than a bully. He has a sadistic side that is truly sinister. The other subplot involves Oliver's past in Liberia and his own trauma at the hands of sadistic adults forcing boys into child armies. 

These subplots are very dark and such a striking contrast with the finding of the baby in the field and the hope she brings with her. Can a person be moved with compassion in one set of circumstances and also become vindictive and filled with hate and rage in another circumstance? This book is for the older teen as it has some very explicit details involving bullying and others which involve the dire realities of war.