Amethyst Child is a departure from Sarah Singleton's previous three novels, yet no less magical. Set in the present day, there are two young girls at the centre of the action, with a young boy involved as well, and adult influences. However, the adults are flawed and Singleton's great strength lies in portraying her young subjects as taking the lead and solving problems where the adults fail, something which all young readers want to hear.
Singleton tackles difficult subjects in this novel and there is one death. In common with Jacqueline Wilson and Anne Fine she shows that successful writing for a young readership does not need to avoid real life issues. As her subjects in this novel are in the fifteen to sixteen age group, older than in her previous works, we even get jealousy over a boy and a kiss.
Amethyst Child is beautifully written in the poetic and numinous style we have come to expect from Sarah. As her writing has evolved there is much to appeal to the adult reader as well as her target teen readership. She keeps the tension and suspense going right to the end and provides a satisfying ending while allowing enough unanswered questions to leave the reader wanting more. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a novel aimed at teenagers and found it a much more engaging read than Runemarks, Joanne Harris's first venture into the same market.
I may not be an Amethyst Child with the gift of foresight, but I can foresee some awards coming Sarah Singelton's way for this remarkable work.