Storm-Wake by Lucy Christopher
Chicken House, 2018. ISBN 9781906427733
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Themes: Survival. Coming of age. Nod to Shakespeare's "The Tempest". Moss is a young girl who has grown up on a magical island with her father, who believes that he can use the flowers growing there to control the weather and stop the floods that he claims have devastated the world. When a wild young fish-boy, Callan, is washed up on the shore, Moss grows increasingly attached to him, but finds it difficult to know what to believe when he begins to question her father. Then two young men are shipwrecked and she has to question everything that she has grown up believing to be true.
I did not realise that this was loosely based on "The Tempest" until well into the story. However astute readers who are familiar with the play, will read the quote at the beginning of the book and see the parallels featuring a father who takes his daughter to an isolated island, and a young feral boy who threatens their peace. At the same time, readers who are not familiar with "The tempest" are able to read it as a survival story and a coming of age story, as Moss grows physically and mentally, and Pa deteriorates as he consumes more and more of the storm flowers on the island, living in a drug induced fever. The appearance of the two young men from the real world who are shipwrecked adds a new dimension to the story and Christopher gathers together many interesting threads as her tale draws to an end.
The lyrical writing and the magic surrounding the island drew me in and after a rather slow start, I found it very difficult to put the book down. The descriptions of being totally isolated, with just the three of them, Moss, Pa and Cal, living together and surviving, combined with dreamlike sequences, draw the reader in, and often it is difficult to know what is real and what is not.
This is a unique and magical story that will appeal to readers who like to be challenged.