YA BOOK of the week
by David Owen, Atom, paperback £7.99, ebook £4.99
THIS YA novel is a powerful meditation on grief and friendship told from the perspectives of two struggling teen boys.
Owen, 15, has moved to a new house in a new area. His dad has recently died, his old friends have abandoned him, and now he’s all alone in a new school. At the new school, Duncan has troubles of his own – a friendship group he feels increasingly isolated from, a terror of girls, a depression he dare not tell anyone about. Both boys are lost to themselves at a time of difficult change.
The story alternates between each viewpoint as Owen and Duncan get to know each other.
What gives the novel an additional, rich dimension are our excursions into Owen’s inner world. He sees powerful visions of skeletal angels which circle above him and gradually lead him on a terrifying otherworldly quest to seek out the answers about who he is and how he can continue.
This is a very satisfying read – tense, moving and emotionally intelligent. The politics of teen friendships between lads are well drawn, there’s a really satisfying arc to be gripped by, and the visits to Owen’s other world add a powerful, almost mythic perspective.