Review Blog

Dec 07 2015

The light that gets lost by Natasha Carthew

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Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781408835869
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Trey is no Harry Potter, even though his English parents were murdered in front of him as a small child. This story is set 8 years later and there's no sugar coating the events that shaped the orphaned teenager in foster homes, which bring him finally to a reformatory. Trey's hard luck story has led him to arson and finally to incarceration with other young offenders, at Camp Kernow, which is managed by the infamous preacher. Some of it has been deliberate - Trey's plan to exact revenge on his parents' murderer if not society in general.
Among the jailers and inmates, Trey finds both bullies and comrades but he confides in no one. Lamby, his unlikely side-kick, deliberately takes a beating requiring medical attention, in order to blow the whistle on the illegal activities of the cult running the camp. When the preacher and his cronies flee, the camp becomes almost dystopian under the thug, Wilder, Preacher's illegitimate son.
Trey and his band, united by their inner strength to do what's right despite their circumstances, must escape when it becomes clear that the outside world, itself in decay, is not coming to their rescue.
The geeky Lamby and Trey's love interest, the very level-headed Kay, prove calming influences. Through affecting imagery, Carthew captures the inner turmoil that besieges a protagonist conflicted by hatred and intent on reprisal. With few rays of hope in this dark narrative, young adults will appreciate how events and characters can influence us in negative ways unless we fulfil our destiny in service of others.
Deborah Robins

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