on 10 September 2013
Published by Barrington Stoke "Teen", this is a superb book for Young Adult reluctant readers (or those with reading difficulties, such as dyslexia). Malorie Blackman is an outstanding author who involves her readers from the outset of all of her books - and this one is no exception.
This is certainly NOT suitable for younger readers; for example, the back cover states "Jon is in hospital. He can't move. The doctors have taken his arms and he is sure his legs are next. Will Jon ever escape?"
It opens ominously: "Soft footsteps sounded in the dark bedroom. The dim light of a torch danced across the walls. The footsteps slowed as they came closer to the bed... A bright glint of metal glinted in the torch beam. The glare of a knife blade..."
This is a recurring piece which the author cleverly extends at the beginning of each chapter; more information about the nightmare is gradually revealed as Jon's story progresses.
Jon is in hospital, drifting in and out of sleep. Each time he wakes, he engages with members of staff at the hospital and the reasons for his admission are hinted at and slowly revealed by various nurses and doctors - in much the same way as the nightmare proceeds.
This would be a fantastic book to read aloud to a group of students in school (it is definitely NOT a bedtime read!) and should stimulate lively discussion.
I can't disclose too much, without spoiling the story, so I'll leave it at that!