Young readers are super clued up regarding the environment, they know the risks and they are most definitely aware of the big message. Nicola Penfold understands exactly this, which is why her middle grade adventure – with an environmental theme – delivers it in an intelligent, respectful manner… she knows her readers get this.
Propel yourself into the lives of Juniper and Bear, two siblings living in a city in England, set sometime in the future. In order to protect the environment a group of activists infected ticks with a deadly disease. A disease that had catastrophic effects for the human population, forcing them to retreat away from nature, forcing them to lock themselves away in a city and leaving nature to… nature. To rebuild itself.
It’s clear from the outset that Juniper and Bear do not belong in this restrictive, false environment. They fail to adhere to the strict guidelines, they fail to swallow the ruling line. They also have a power – immunity to the the deadly tick disease. So when their headteacher starts to suspect, when he orders blood tests which will reveal their secret – Juniper and Bear know that their only chance of survival is to do what is forbidden. To head out to the wild, and seek others like them.
So unfolds a brilliantly paced adventure, a race against time – because the city is not going to react to kindly to escapees, especially important ones like Juniper and Bear. As Juniper struggles to protect her younger brother and fight for survival Penfold captures her voice wonderfully. We feel her panic and uncertainty, her worry and yet her determination. She knows she must survive. She knows she must protect Bear.
Penfold’s carefully crafted adventure, a race against time, is brilliantly written. You’ll be hearing plenty about Where The World Turns Wild this year!