Kevin Brooks is the groundbreaking author of the internationally acclaimed novels DAWN; BLACK RABBIT SUMMER; BEING; THE ROAD OF THE DEAD, a Mystery Writers of America "Edgar" nominee; CANDY; KISSING THE RAIN; LUCAS; and MARTYN PIG, which received England's Branford Boase Award for Best First Novel. Brooks lives in Yorkshire, England.
Gr 9 Up-This beautifully written allegorical tale by the author of Martyn Pig (Scholastic, 2002) stays with readers long after it ends. Set on an isolated island off Great Britain, the novel has it all-love, hate, sin, forgiveness and redemption, and a memorable title character. As Caitlin, 15, relates the events of the previous summer, she recalls with crystal clarity the moment when the mysterious boy appeared out of nowhere. His arrival precipitates a series of incidents that exposes the ugly underbelly of the seemingly idyllic setting. Lucas, 16, is enigmatic and direct, and has the uncanny ability to read people and predict their actions. He lives off the land, and doesn't seem to want or need anyone. The locals don't understand him, and they see him as a threat. Lucas rescues Caitlin from being raped by Jamie, a seemingly upstanding college guy who, with his gang of rowdy, beer-drinking buddies, spreads rumors and innuendoes about the stranger. The situation rapidly escalates into an accusation of attempted murder after one of the island girls is brutally attacked. A group of residents abandons rational thought and becomes a senseless mob, seeking vigilante justice. The writing is extraordinarily lyrical. The often-dreamlike quality of island life is juxtaposed with the ever-present threat of violence like the calm before a storm. All of the characters are sharply defined. Lucas, with his mixture of real and unearthly qualities, is unique and unforgettable. This is a powerful book to be savored by all who appreciate fine writing and a gripping read.-Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Brooks's (Martyn Pig) second novel is an ambitious and intricately crafted tale of love and resurrection that more than lives up to its eye-catching packaging. Growing up on a beautiful but isolated island off the English coast, narrator Caitlin, 15, is deeply ambivalent about the onset of adolescence. Surely growing up must mean something more than making herself "look like a tart" in skimpy outfits and throwing herself into a life of recreational drug use, like many of the island's other girls. At home, her kind alcoholic father (a YA author!) has been immobilized with grief since Cait's mother died in a car crash 10 years ago. When rootless Lucas comes to the island, to camp out and live off the land, he becomes Cait's friend and stirs her heart. Lucas arouses the suspicions of the insular islanders, who (thanks to the scheming of some nearly unbelievably brutish characters) come to believe that the boy is responsible for a violent sexual assault. Although the novel can be read on one level as an unfolding, tender relationship made all the more poignant by the mob violence that surrounds it, sensitive readers may grow to suspect that Lucas may be something more than just a boy wanderer. From the titles of Cait's father's novels (Some Kind of God; Nothing Ever Dies; New World) to Lucas's own comments ("You don't know my size"), teasing hints as to Lucas's mysterious background litter the narrative. Its powerful combination of big ideas and forthright narrative make this novel likely to linger in readers' minds. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
n this British InIPOrt, fifteen-year-old Cait finds her peaceful life with her father disrupted when her restless older brother, Dr, inic, conies back from university for the summer. Donlillic is drawn to the troublemaking element in their small island community, rich Jamic Tair and his hangers-on. not knowing that jarnic has made it clear he has designs on Cait despite her obvious Tjection of him. Into this tense situation comes Lucas, a boy unlike anyone Cait's ever known; Eying rough on the coast, he's despised as a gypsy by the bigoted locals, but Cait is drawn to his unusual serenity and his perceptiveness. His strangeness makes him an easy target, however, for jamic Tait's cunning hate campaign that threatens Lucas'free- dom and, when mob frenzy has been incited, his life. There are some appealing elements here-the magnetic, possibly supernatural outsider, the changes in Cair's relationship with her nerve older brother, the shady power structures of the insidar comniunity-and Brooks is particularly good at using the physical reality of the semi-isolated island and its natural features to enhance the mood of his story. Unfortunately, this lacks the tautness that marked his previous book, Ma" pig (BCCB 9102), with Cait's lengthy self-examinations and explanations diffusing the tension rather than enhancing it. The heavy hand of contrivance is too evident in the events and in the characters, both the good guys (Lucas seems horn for martyrdom) and the antagonists (their villainy is too pat to he interesting). The mixture of mob sway and supernatural elements is employed moreeffectively in Westall's Ymxlty@ Cat (BCCB 3192), but this will definitely have allure for readers partial to tales of romantic and misunderstood strangers. DS School Library Journal(May 1, 2003; 0-439-45698-3) Gr 9 Up-This beautifully written allegorical tale by the author of Martyn Pig (Scholastic, 2002) stays with readers long after it ends. Set on an isolated island of