Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
This was read for an assignment in a publishing course. We were to read an out-of-print book and then create a book proposal to bring this back in print. While my proposal will focus on the need for realistic children’s survival stories, and perfect timing with the survival theme in dystopian YA, this review will be different.
Anna, Brian, and Verity are cousins visiting family in Wales. Their aunt slips on some ice as a terrible blizzard sets in, and Aunt Marian and Uncle Fred decide the children need to head back to London immediately. The children miss the bus that would take them to the train station, and they are stranded in a farmhouse. The next several days the three scramble to find and make food, boil water, sleep, and keep warm till they devise a plan to be rescued.
On the surface it’s an excellent read, especially for children. As an adult reader, though, I have to admit some flaws. First, there are very little descriptors. Sometimes it was difficult to distinguish between characters, and the story is mostly dialogue driven. I was surprised when hours had passed as one character spoke two sentences, such as “I am going to pack my bags. There, now I’m done, so let’s check on Brian.” (Not an actual quote.)
But when the children are stranded, the story became very fun to read. What sort of food would they eat? How do they plan to keep warm? How will they escape the buried farmhouse? In a time without cell phones and easy transportation, how did these children get in touch with other people in order to be rescued? Little hints are dropped throughout, a small mystery for child readers to solve as the story progresses.