I recently had what I thought was a bit of a reading tangent, but now I've been mulling it over I realise it fits quite well with my recent foray in to some of Neil Gaiman's work. Perhaps I'm becoming a bit of a sic-fi/fantasy convert? And Then The Storm is a young adult book aimed at young teens about a boy named Ryan who has fits that lead him to have vivid dreams of a frozen wasteland. With his dog Napoleon by his side he finds himself embroiled in a dangerous plot, trying to help Grace, a time traveller, to prevent some destructive plans coming to fruition.
There's a lot of themes in this book which I think the target audience would really relate to - the nature of loyalty and friendship, and the difficult moment that comes in everyone's life when your world view suddenly changes. The realisation that people aren't always what they seem, and things you've always counted as truths could be wrong is something that would resonate with a lot of young teens as they try to make sense of the adult world they are entering in to.
I don't claim to be an expert on young adult fiction, but I've always thought that a sign of a good children's or YA novel is its ability to appeal to those of all ages. It demonstrates a clarity of thought, a quality of writing, and a depth that can be appreciated at different stages of life. There are passages in this book that are superbly written, the descriptions of Ryan's fits being particularly vivid and evocative. The quality of writing and engaging storyline keep you gripped. In places slightly scary, in others moving, this is a book with a heart that doesn't skimp on the action. I'd be lying if I said the nod to the past in the choice of name for Ryan's dog, and the eminently sensible nature of some of his grandad's opinions on history didn't make me smile, but that might just be me. Either way, this is an impressive debut from a promising new voice in the young adult market.
And Then The Storm is currently available as an eBook and if you enjoyed His Dark Materials or Artemis Fowl it's worth giving it a go.