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White Crow [Hardcover]

Marcus Sedgwick
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

1 July 2010

It's summer. Rebecca is an unwilling visitor to Winterfold - taken from the buzz of London and her friends and what she thinks is the start of a promising romance. Ferelith already lives in Winterfold - it's a place that doesn't like to let you go, and she knows it inside out - the beach, the crumbling cliff paths, the village streets, the woods, the deserted churches and ruined graveyards, year by year being swallowed by the sea. Against her better judgement, Rebecca and Ferelith become friends, and during that long, hot, claustrophobic summer they discover more about each other and about Winterfold than either of them really want to, uncovering frightening secrets that would be best left long forgotten.

Interwoven with Rebecca and Ferelith's stories is that of the seventeenth century Rector and Dr Barrieux, master of Winterfold Hall, whose bizarre and bloody experiments into the after-life might make angels weep, and the devil crow.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Childrens (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842551876
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842551875
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 428,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marcus Sedgwick used to work in children's publishing and before that he was a bookseller. He now happily writes full-time. His books have been shortlisted for many awards, including The Guardian Children's Fiction Award, the Blue Peter Book Award, the Carnegie Medal and the Edgar Allan Poe Award.

Product Description


There are still gothic elements to White Crow, but this feels like something of a new direction for Sedgwick. This is essentially a contemporary tale of two girls' friendship in a long, hot, tense summer, but it is interwoven with a 17th century tale of bizarre experiments into the afterlife. It is an original and exceptional novel of tragedy, angels, devils and friendship. (Fiona Noble THE BOOKSELLER)

In Sedgwick's hands however we have a pared down glittering gem for older YA readers who are interested in things that are obscure and obscured... I will be pondering the story of these three characters long after I close the book, turning and turning their fates until I reach an accommodation between my understanding, the things I don't understand and the things that there will never be an answer to - until finally I can put the book away. (MIDDLETON AND FERMOY BOOKS)

Described as a modern gothic thriller, complete with angels and devils, it's a tale of two girls and their friendship in a long, hot, tense summer, but it is also interwoven with a 17th century tale of bizarre experiments into the afterlife. Perfect for fans of the The Twilight series but much more sinister and impeccably written! (LOVEREADING)

Marcus Sedgwick cleverly leaves questions unanswered, and there's much to ponder, not least the very sinister side to this intriguing, intelligent book for older teenagers, one whose obvious quality - in both imaginative and narrative force - makes it stand out. (Karen Howlett CORNFLOWER BOOKS BLOG)

a story both chilling and beautiful in equal measures.... Sedgwick has an extraordinary gift of being able to blur the lines between individual themes and characters. This is a book that deals with many questions about mortality and death, yet it never forces these ideas down your throat. Likewise, you warm to Ferelith even as she terrifies you. This is a love story and a horror story all at once. (AMO (Alternative Magazine Online))

There are moments at the end of White Crow that actually made my breath catch at the back of my throat. I never excepted a book featuring two young girls, aimed at younger readers, would connect with me and affect me so profoundly. Yet the ending is so shocking, perfect and right, that it wouldn't surprise me if it manages to reduce many readers to tears. This is a scary, heart-warming, intelligent book. The words of my review have in all likelihood not done it justice. Ten out of ten" (AMO (Alternative Magazine Online))

Sedgwick is one of our most versatile children's writers - he can make young ones laugh and draw older readers into atmospheric, chilling dramas with equal skill. This may be his most ambitious book yet... It's a demanding read... explores religion, death, friendship, truth and love with an intensity that confident older readers will immerse themselves in. (Sally Morris DAILY MAIL)

A powerful thriller. Tense thought-provoking and original (DAILY EXPRESS)

Overall, another masterful novel from an author of the highest calibre. Scary? Yes. Gothic? Certainly. I highly recommend this to all readers except the faint hearted. The plot will grip you from start to finish and will make you want to turn all the lights on. This book is the whole terrifyingly dark package! (THE BOOKETTE)

'A compelling novel full of secrets and mysteries, Sedgwick doesn't mess about, drawing the reader in quickly and then skilfully managing the reveal of information. Full of tension and evocative imagery, the novel's twin narratives evade melodrama and keep the mystery going right to the end." (SFX)

One of the pleasures of this dark teenage novel is the way it slowly gives up its secrets. Summarising the plot quickly risks spoiling some of this, but suffice to say this is a triple narrative... The voices of modern teenagers and of a man of the cloth in the 1700s are equally convincing, as these contrasting narratives converge in an ingenious story full of tension, twists and horror. Reading it is like agreeing to a dare, compelling you to keep going into a frightening unknown. (Nicolette Jones SUNDAY TIMES)

This is chilling stuff with the spooky fiction skilfully blended with the workaday truth to make one doubt both. For those over 12. (Toby Clements THE TELEGRAPH)

...modern gothic thriller, by master of the macabre Marcus Sedgwick... Ideal to fill the Twilight-shaped gap this summer. (LIVING NORTH)

This book is a fairly daring mixture of gothic horror and existential speculation. Does God exist? If so, what are the consequences? If not, what then? As is typical of Sedgwick's work, what might have been a simple tale of friendship between two girls turns out to draw the reader into more profound reflections about the nature of human life and death. The narrative is fast paced and dark. The characterisation of the two protagonists is powerful... (BOOKS FOR KEEPS)

"This is a superb contemporary gothic horror story, ostensibly for teenagers but with a lot to say to adults too. Beautifully written and irresistably dynamic, it explores themes of heredity, of good and evil, of the possibility of redemption and of the vital necessity of love, wherever it may be found." (from audio book reviews) (THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

...there's blood, plenty of it, but this is properly spooky, genuinely chilling stuff. This horror seeps rather than gushes. (Keith Gray THE SCOTSMAN)

this is intelligent writing dealing with everything from corrupting obsession to friendship, in a modern gothic mystery where ideas and images linger long after the final word has been read, and take flight. (Philip Ardagh THE GUARDIAN)

Full of taut atmosphere, Sedgwick's plotting and writing style build up unbearable tension in the book's second half. This chilling and demanding novel isn't one for the faint-hearted but many will be reading until the early hours of the morning. If you're into classy teen horror, then WHITE CROW should be at the top of your reading list. (John Millen SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST)

...a few good hours reading till its truly, deeply disturbing ending. (BOOKSMUGGLERS)

I loved how Marcus touched on some really interesting concepts with this novel. Of heaven and hell and faith and belief with the experiments the two men carried out. Ferelith and Rebecca's friendship was so tenuous and it leaves reader questioning how well do you really know anyone? I loved the relationship between Rebecca and her father, so very raw and painful. And yet neither one was able to find the words to say to the other to make things right. And yet it is terrifying. And beautiful. (FLUTTERING BUTTERFLIES BLOG)

White Crow is an intelligent and thoughtful book whose themes of afterlife, faith and death - both human mortality and the demise of a town itself ¿ are explored delicately. Two strong female leads drive a story that is both chilling and memorable in equal measure. Highly recommended. (FANTASY BOOK REVIEW)

WHITE CROW will also be enjoyed by adults as well as teenagers. An elegant gothic thriller, it's the story of two youngsters: city girl Rebecca who has moved to a seaside village with her troubled policeman father, and Ferelith, a mysterious creature who has dropped out of school and lives in a rectory with some hippy friends. Partly inspired by the true account of a scientist who tried to communicate with the dead, it's jaw dropping and scary. (DAILY EXPRESS)

I liked this book because it was scary, good and fantastic. It is very surprising and makes you keep reading it. I liked this book so much I would read it again and again because it is such a fantastic book. I would recommend it to anyone that like a gothic thriller. (TEEN TITLES)

Book Description

A modern gothic thriller about what awaits us after death - angels or the devil.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's quite a horrible story. I love it." 24 July 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
WHITE CROW is a deliciously dark, gothic tale of obsession, good versus evil, friendship and love. The story centres around Winterfold Hall and a young girl called Rebecca. In the late 1700's, Winterfold Hall belonged to a man who became obsessed with following one line of knowledge; the knowledge of what happens to us after death. Now, hundreds of years later, Rebecca has moved into the small community of Winterfold for the summer holidays. And although more than two hundred years have passed, the story of Winterfold Hall is not quite finished yet.

That is all I want to say in relation to the plot. I do not want to spoil it for anyone reading this who then decides to read the book for themsleves. As one of the characters themselves say in the book, "It's quite a horrible story", but like them, "I love it".
Although this is a novel aimed at teens, adults would easily enjoy it too. I literally devoured it; within one afternoon I had finished it. Sedgwick grabbed hold and did not let go for one second. It is extremely dark - not just in relation to the story behind Winterfold, but also in regards to the other plot of Rebecca and the people around her; the secret of her dad, the history of the girl she befriends are just two exapmles of this. This had the effect of almost every page being tinged with a sense of unease. The two stories, and how they weave together, really come to life so much so that by the end you feel freaked out to say the least!

I cannot recommend this novel enough. For anyone who enjoys very dark, atmospheric books this really is up your street. And, a word of warning for those considering to buy this for younger readers; it is scary and there are things that you may not think appropriate for some, so you may want to look over it before passing it on.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars White crow by Marcus Sedgewick 14 Mar 2011
White Crow
Described on the front cover as "a modern gothic thriller" White crow mostly takes place in the here and now, but part of the narrative comes from 1798 through the diary of the local vicar. The action takes place in the small village of Winterfold, on the east coast, which has long been losing land to the sea and which was once a thriving town. Over two thirds of the place has fallen into the ocean. Rebecca moves there for the summer with her father, who obviously has something to hide and is running from the past. She meets a strange girl called Ferelith who has always lived in Winterfold and shows Rebecca some of the more interesting aspects of the place and tells her much about the local history and superstitions. The written narrative is told from three different perspectives which are identified in the text by differing type faces. We, as readers, have Rebecca's story told in conventional print; we have Ferelith's story told in sans serif print; and finally we have the vicar's story from 1798 told in a gothic style print. Many of the buildings are the same as those in 1798: Winterfold Hall; the inn called The Angel and the Devil and the church. The title White crow comes from Ferelith's belief that the existence of a white crow proves the existence of the impossible. As in other novels by Marcus Sedgwick, this novel challenges young readers' linear concepts of time, but has a gripping and unexpected denouement. Not for the squeamish, but will appeal to readers of 12+ with a taste for horror and ghost stories.
Julie Parker
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Books to do before you die 26 July 2010
This book is incredible. You always get a refreshing inspirational take on things with Marcus and this dosent disappoint. Like previous story telling it comes via converging characters through multiple story lines. It will make you think,change,challenge and revalue your own views on right and wrong, life and death. Building superbly into a macabre and chilling game for the girls that makes you question the extent you ever really know someone. Awkward situations beautifully told in the case of Rebecca and her father that remind you of being there yourself once. Marcus Sedgwick writes like none of his contempories and stands alone in his originality. It is almost a crime to pigeonhole his work as its for everyone and you could easily miss out on a tale that will stay with you forever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars do i read it again or not? 5 Mar 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
i read the synopsis of this, then i read all the reviews and i have to say got quite obsessed with wanting to find out if it ferelith is as confusing as one reader thought she was. i have to admit, she is. at first i thought she was merely eccentric, i read somewhere that highly intelligent people can be and she certainly seems to be unusual in her intelligence level for her age. i didnt think that she was anything but eccentric untl she gave rebecca a dare and used something to make it even more horrible than it would have been by itself. i started to think that rebecca should stay away from her and yet, even when ferelith does something even more horrible, rebecca keeps spending time with her although at one point it feels as if ferelith is stalking rebecca.
i have to say that while the whole story was entertaining and kept me reading, what really did it for me was rebecca and ferelith, i really wanted to see how they would turn out because it does seem as though ferelith is in love with rebecca but resents her because of this. im not ashamed to admit that i had no clue the story would end the way it did and it was poignant. hmmm, i will read it again, but maybe i`ll read something a bit lighter first. i hope i never meet anyone like ferelith because although i felt sorry for her at the end, i also thought that she is just a bit to dangerous to pity.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, rich and scary as a blood meal. Gothic horror meets 21st...
Like most things; maturity, meetings, the cooking of the chicken in the oven for dinnger, I arrive late to Marcus Sedgwick's work. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Andrew D Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars A gruesome and pleasing gothic tale
This is quite a gruesome tale of the obsession with what happens to us after we die.

This is the story of what happens in the village of Winterfold, once a prosperous... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of Suspense!
I was incredibly lucky to win a bundle of signed books by Marcus Sedgwick. I'd read extracts of his work but I'd never read the books. I was very excited when they arrived. Read more
Published 20 months ago by ReadWriteReviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and scary friendship that will haunt you
This is a real gripping tale about a new girl in a small town for the summer that has clearly had to leave her loved life in London behind to be with her father in a remote place... Read more
Published on 9 Nov 2011 by Sisterspooky
4.0 out of 5 stars White Crow
Told from three different points of view, White Crow blends past and present in a chilling exploration of the possibility of an afterlife and heaven and hell. Read more
Published on 1 Aug 2011 by Vicki @ Cosy Books
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary but not too scary!
Marcus Sedgewick books have a distinctly dark side, and are definite page turners. I read this in one sitting, staying up into the early hours. Read more
Published on 9 Jun 2011 by P. Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars Freaky. Gothic. Weird. Awesome.
White Crow was the creepiest book I've read in a long time. And I'm a hardened Stephen King fan!

It is very reminiscent of old school horror movies - very Hitchcock. Read more
Published on 26 May 2011 by Pamela Roach
4.0 out of 5 stars Angels & Devils, Past & Present
Shortlisted for the 2011 Carnegie Medal, this is a story of angels and devils, of past and present, of fathers and daughters. Read more
Published on 2 May 2011 by kenh
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep the light on whilst you read.
loved this book. It was dark, it was creepy and it really was a modern Gothic thriller. The story appears fresh and original and full of the unexpected. Read more
Published on 17 Jan 2011 by Serendipity Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Seriously creepy
When you pick up a new Marcus Sedgwick book you never know what to expect from the author as he has become a master of surprises and loves to keep his readers guessing as to what... Read more
Published on 24 Dec 2010 by Mr H - Book Zone (For Boys) Blog
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