AUTHOR = JANE HIGGINS
GENRE = WAR, REVOLUTION
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 9
Action packed from the opening page, this is an exciting tale of a future world that bears striking similarities to our own. A world which is at war and divided – by race, by religion, by a lack of compassion and understanding. So it is not surprising that betrayal and loyalty lie at the heart of this novel.
Nik is a clever student and expects to be selected for training as an ISIS soldier so he feels understandably hurt and betrayed when things don’t go to plan. So when his school is bombed and ISIS questions his loyalty Nik is puzzled. Why does his surname cause such anger?? Nik knows little of his parents, having lost them as a youngster – his sense of family lies with his close friends and he risks his life to help them.
Even crossing the bridge to the Southside to try and rescue his friend Fyffe’s 8 year old brother. The sense of threat and peril in the Southside is all too real as Nik and Fyffe struggle to stay alive and find her brother – whilst putting their own lives at risk.
There are many twists and turns in the plot and Nik (like the reader) is not quite sure who to trust. Strategy and plotting (and counter plotting) become important. And loyalty – to a cause and to one’s friends.
Finally Nik must question everything he has ever believed in – and discovers that sometimes physical frailty belies inner strength. Against the backdrop of war, Nik learns who he can trust and what to trust in himself. This is an action packed adventure story with a powerful and credible ending which will leave readers with plenty to think about long after the last page has been read.
A worthy winner of The Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing, 2010
Highly Recommended (dma) *****