Last year, I read (and really enjoyed) Liz Kessler's A Year Without Autumn - you can read my book review here - so I was keen to see what I'd make of her latest novel, North of Nowhere. Well, the setting and atmosphere are totally different but - without giving the plot away - you can tell this is a Liz Kessler novel (although the similarities with A Year Without Autumn are only apparent at the very end).
The action (or, according to the central character, that should be lack of action) takes place in a sleepy seaside village called Porthaven where Mia begrudgingly accompanies her mum who wants to go and support her grandmother following the mysterious disappearance of her grandfather. Nothing ever happens in Porthaven so when Mia discovers a young girl's secret diary on a boat, she can't resist the temptation and leaves her a note, hoping to find a friend.
She finds herself propelled into a crazy adventure which only gets harder to comprehend, the more she uncovers. The atmosphere frequently reminded me of an Enid Blyton adventure, albeit updated, with mentions of mobile phones and internet. Porthaven seems timeless though, cut off from modernity and real life because there is no signal, which just adds to the Blytonesque feeling.
The plot is well thought out and cleverly manipulated but may be a bit complicated for younger readers to get their heads round ! The ending is a bit of a Catch 22 situation - it can't be a totally happy ending for everyone involved, but the characters come together and try to make the best of a bad job.
It's an exciting adventure novel with a slightly paranormal twist that pre-teens will love.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £9.99
- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Orion Childrens (17 Jan 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1444001531
- ISBN-13: 978-1444001532
- Product Dimensions: 20 x 13.8 x 2.8 cm
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
Other reviews you may be interested in :