Review Blog

Aug 06 2010

Grimsdon by Deborah Abela

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Random House Australia, 2010. ISBN 9781741663723.
(Age: 8-11) Isabella, heroic and resourceful, heads a small band of children on the seaward edges of Grimsdon. She leads the twins Bea and Raffy, Griffin and Fly (who doesn't talk, but has other special abilities), on exploring and scavenging forays into the deteriorating buildings. They collect enough to keep them well fed and safe.
Grimsdon, a thinly disguised London, is a nearly submerged, decaying city three years after the sea waters have risen and flooded the low lying areas. The only inhabitants of Grimsdon are adults who choose to live there away from regular society (like pirates who exploit children), or children who were stranded after the rescue attempts ceased. Water separates the buildings requiring boats and ropes to navigate. Tides and rogue waves have to be taken into account and there are vague fears of sea serpents.
Life for the children is interesting and limited until Xavier comes into their lives. Their world broadens, becomes more dangerous and interesting as Xavier takes them further a field using the incredible Aerotrope.
I found Grimsdon an easy to read novel and could imagine the students who would enjoy reading it. This narrative is an engaging, easy little read for middle primary readers, although it might appeal to a few upper primary students, especially those who like an imaginary land, strong predictable characters and a bit of fantasy.
Although Grimsdon touches on issues of independence and belonging, and introduces the concept of changes in the environment being brought about by the actions of humans, the subjects are not followed through to a depth strong enough to provoke serious discussion.
S. Whittaker

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