The Song from Somewhere Else, by A.F. Harrold and Levi Pinfold, is a wonderfully powerful story about friendship for anyone from about 9 years old.
Frank has a secret. She is dealing with awful bullies at school and can’t talk to anyone about it. But at least she isn’t the huge and peculiar Nick Underbridge, who everyone in her class ignores. When Nick rescues Frank from the bullies one afternoon, Frank doesn’t know what to do. She doesn’t want other people to think they might be friends, but she is grateful to him and doesn’t want to be mean.
She goes with him to his house and finds it to be a comfortable and friendly place. When Frank follows the sound of strange music into Nick’s cellar, she discovers that she isn’t the only one keeping secrets, or the only one that needs rescuing.
Along with the warmth and friendship, there is conflict and menace. The threat of the bullies and the threat of the awful shadows that are searching for Nick’s secret, mirror each other throughout the novel. There are many themes to explore: friendship and betrayal, secrets and lies. The story makes you think what it might be like to live in someone else’s shoes.
If you are looking for a fantasy book, set in every-day real life, you will love this book. Fans of Susan Cooper or Alan Garner will marvel at the way A.F. Harrold has woven our world and fantasy ones together in a subtle and beautiful way.
One thing that really impressed me was how A.F.Harrold used Frank’s body, and particularly her stomach, to create conversation out of Frank’s internal thoughts. This was such a clever way to ‘show’ her thinking things through and weighing up the options, without ‘telling’ the reader what she thought.
I have to mention the superb illustrations by Levi Pinfold. I read a hardback edition, and the whole book looked and felt beautiful. The black and white illustrations matched the mood and the events perfectly, and really added to the excitement and tension, while still leaving lots to the reader’s imagination.
The Song from Somewhere Else, by A.F. Harrold and Levi Pinfold is a top class read. Five stars!