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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2014
I thought this book was going to be a nice light hearted children’s book – but I was amazed at how dark it was in places. But not so dark that I don’t think others couldn’t enjoy it. In fact, it had a very interesting concept.

With the group consisting mostly of kids, it’s clear that the writer is aiming this at the younger market – but don’t be fooled into thinking this is a standard children’s story. It has a dark subtext and some “nightmare fuel” places in it – especially with the main villain. I don’t really want to spoil anything about the plot, but let me just tell you – the scene in which you meet him is straight outta Lovercraftian horror!

The Turnarounders are an interesting bunch of characters, ranging from brainacs to tough, streetwise kids, so you get a good mix of characters and something for everyone. For me, nothing is more annoying that having a team where everyone has basically the same traits, so it was refreshing to have a group where they all had difference personalities. Ralf, of course, is the main protagonist, but he’s not the key problem solver – everyone plays their part in this story.

So the plot basically revolves around children that are sent back to a Kent village during WWII to stop an evil force from taking place – and no, it’s not the Nazi’s this time around. Here’s the twist – they all have special powers (ala Harry Potter) and they have lived before. Apparently a long time ago they made a promise to stop some evil dude from coming back and now he’s here – or something like that.

Actually, the plot isn’t as complicated as I’m making it out to be above. The story is very easy to follow and has a great balance between humour and action. I quite liked the character of Alfie with his modern expressions in WWII England – that was funny. There are also a lot of puzzles for the Turnarounders to solve so that adds a real sense of mystery to the plot. The story also has some genuine twists that shocked me on occasion. Again, I don’t want to say too much, but the story did keep me hooked the whole way through. I felt it was the right balance of action, story and mystery.

I mentioned it having some dark moments in it as well. Bearing in mind this is set during the Great War, it doesn’t skimp over the horror and fear that was in the country at the time – think Blackadder Goes Forth. The horror is toned down a little as this is a young persons story, but it certainly brings awareness to the plight of the country. On the whole, the dark elements are justified and still makes this books suitable for younger readers.

To be honest, there wasn’t a lot about this book I DIDN’T like. In fact, for the first time since doing these reviews – I’m actually struggling to think of any negative points.

I suppose if I had to pick something, though this would only be a nitpick, it’s that one of the puzzles the Turnarounders had to solve did have me shouting “Oh come on! Even Adam West couldn’t put that together!” But then, stories don’t have to be realistic.

With a mix of action, humour, mystery and great storytelling, The Turnarounders andd the Arbuckle Rescue is one book that is guaranteed to capture the imaginations of child and adult alike. Move over, Potter – the Turnarounders are here to claim their throne!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 June 2015
I came across this children’s novel when I was searching online for ‘Books that Contain Interesting Dogs’. (Not the most common way of choosing a book, I know, but it seems to work for me.) But if I had searched for ‘A Great Story that Interweaves Elements of History, Fantasy, Adventure and Friendship’, then I think I would have come up with the same book.

Ralf, his parents having both been killed in a tragic accident involving a dog, some sausages and a two-ton steamroller (not the interesting dog - he appears later), goes to live with Great Aunt Gloria. At first Ralf struggles with his new life; Gloria seems crazily eccentric and as his twelfth birthday approaches, very strange things begin to happen.

Ralf meets other children who are equally bemused by the events that are overtaking them and they slowly realise that in previous times they were bound by never-ending ties of friendship. As members of the Turnarounders gang, they promised long ago that if their powers were needed they would reunite and return to assist those in need. And so they find themselves in a small fishing village at the start of World War II with seemingly insurmountable problems that could change the course of future events if left unchecked.

It is in the village that Ralf is reunited with the final member of the team; the ‘interesting dog’ of my own quest.

‘Ralf stared at the beast in front of him. Two liquid brown eyes gazed back and he felt the cold wetness of a large nose pressed into his hand.
“Cabal?’ Ralf whispered.
The dog huffed as if in agreement and that was all it took. A jigsaw piece that had been missing from Ralf’s heart since the day his parents died, slotted itself back into place.’ (p130)
I enjoyed this book very much. It combines various plotlines in a thrilling narrative in which Ralf’s gang really display their own characters and personalities. The historical links work well as a background to the story and there are hints of older myths that come into play to assist the Turnarounders. I’m recommending this book for readers of 10 years right up to adult readers. (You’re never too old for good stories!)

I’m looking forward to reading more in the series, and I’ve got my eye on Cabal, (you never know, perhaps he was the dog at the start of the story with the sausages!) as I think he’s going to get even more interesting than I even first imagined.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2013
Very pleasantly surprised to read such a charming and well crafted story from a new author. Characters and plot are well thought out and make you want to know what happens next. I know the book is aimed at the younger market and I'm slightly older but I feel sort of the same way about Lou's work as I did about J. J. Rowlings :-)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
First book in a long time that I didn't want to put down and didn't want to end. I hope there will be more books featuring the Turnarounders. I think I will wait a few weeks and then read it all again as I'm sure that in my haste to find out what happens next, I've missed a few details. Loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2014
Though comparisons will be made with JK Rowling and the Harry Potter series, The Turnarounders is a different beast entirely. For me, this debut novel has more in common with Enid Blyton's The Famous Five, but with added magic, thrills and terrific characters. The intrigue continues to build throughout the novel until a fantastically written climax brings all the elements together and leaves the story open for the sequel I hope Heneghan will be giving us.

Buy it for young adults, but read it yourself too!
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on 15 July 2014
Ralf Osborne is a normal 12-year-old until he finds out he’s a Turnarounder and far from normal. With four other youngsters, he’s thrust back in time to the start of the Second World War to a quiet English village. Here, life is far from quiet, far from normal. Ralf and his fellow Turnarounders have to use their special powers discovered throughout the pages of this book to battle evil and foil a plot to invade England.
Great attention to detail makes the time and place very authentic. This is a well-written action-packed fantasy with many twists and turns to keep the reader wondering what will happen next. I found the pace rather slow in the middle, but at the end the adventure went at a gallop keeping me hooked to the last line. Enjoyable for both kids and adults.
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on 5 December 2013
The thing to remember about this book is - do not start reading it when you should be doing other things. Yes, it is one of those, `once you start reading it you can't stop until you finish type books.'
Extremely well written and a gripping tale with some interesting twists and turns, it is well worth reading. The characters are well rounded and there is a strong storyline.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and would recommend it to anyone.
No book is perfect, and so yes there are a few minor criticisms, but they are minor. None of the criticisms I can think of take away from how good this book is.
This book will appeal to teens and adults who love this type of book.
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on 8 January 2014
A very well written novel; I greatly enjoyed reading it. The twists and turns in the plot had me gripped and ensured my interest throughout. Being a lover of fantasy, I loved the idea of the whole time travelling aspect, sort of like a unique version of doctor who.
The humour in the characters was constant though I felt that they did seem a bit young, regarding the things that they were capable of. But a great story nonetheless.
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on 12 December 2013
My son has this to say about the book:
When I first opened the book and read the first line, I smiled. The book has quite a bit of humour in it (Some bits really made me laugh loudly).
The middle of the book was a bit scary but was really interesting as I had a hard time putting the book down.
I look forward to the next book!
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on 1 February 2014
For a debut book, I think the standard is excellent and I am thoroughly enjoying it. It's a bit muddly in places and I think it has been over-edited. However it's a great idea with lots happening and a great way to learn some History.
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