Review Blog

Feb 05 2009

After the Flood by L. S. Matthews

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Hodder Children's Books 2008
(Ages 8+) Highly Recommended.A boy's home destroyed by flooding. A new life in the country. Friendship, conflict and the odd adventure thrown in. Another run of the mill story? Well not exactly.
After the Flood introduces a world where mobile phones are precious possessions to be preserved for emergencies and powered by solar energy. This is a society where pampered pets are a thing of the past and animals have to work. It's a place where cars are a rarity, where 'The Menders' has replaced most other shops and where extremes of weather batter and boil the countryside.
After Jack and his family move to a small village he meets Michael, sickly and bored, an invalid who is cared for by his sister. Their friendship is sealed by the arrival of Van, a frightened and unpredictable horse that Jack longs to care for and train. Jack and Michael work hard, hoping that perseverance and kindness will tame the wild horse. When a tornado wreaks havoc through the village Van's help is needed to reach a trapped and injured man, but will the untried horse be able to rise to the challenge?
L. S. Matthews is a master of the cliff hanger. The opening chapters describing the disastrous flood suck the reader straight into the action and are nail biting stuff. Characters are entirely believable as is the picture Matthews paints of a society ravaged by climate change. But as if that is not enough Matthews plays her final card on the very last page, a twist that left me speechless. Fantastic Stuff. Read it with your upper juniors. You're all in for a treat!
Claire Larson

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