The Last Wild

In a world where animals no longer exist, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes sometimes feels like he hardly exists either. Locked away in a home for troubled children, he’s told there’s something wrong with him. So when he meets a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach, Kester thinks he’s finally gone crazy. But the animals have something to say. And they need him. The pigeons fly Kester to a wild place where the last creatures in the land have survived. A wise stag needs Kester’s help, and together they must embark on a great journey, joined along the way by an overenthusiastic wolf cub, a military-trained cockroach, a mouse with a ritual for everything, and a stubborn girl named Polly. The animals saved Kester Jaynes. But can Kester save the animals?

No Ordinary Day

Even though Valli spends her days picking coal and fighting with her cousins, life in the coal town of Jharia, India, is the only life she knows. The only sight that fills her with terror is the monsters who live on the other side of the train tracks — the lepers. When Valli discovers that that her “aunt” is a stranger who was paid money to take Valli off her own family’s hands, she leaves Jharia and begins a series of adventures that takes her to Kolkata, the city of the gods. Valli finds that she really doesn’t need much to live and is very resourceful. But a chance encounter with a doctor reveals that she has leprosy. Unable to bear the thought that she is one of the monsters she has always feared, Valli rejects help and begins an uncertain life on the street.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 5, Issue 3.

City Boy

Set in contemporary Malawi, a poignant account of an orphaned boy’s transition from city life to village life. Sam’s widowed mother has died from “the Disease,” and Sam is claimed by his aunt Mercy, who lives in the small African village where Sam’s mother was born and raised. The gap between Sam’s life in the city, where he had his own room, attended private school, and used a computer, and his new life in the dirt-floored one-room hut, which he is to share with his aunt and cousins, is vast beyond imagining. Grief, loneliness, and the absence of everything familiar make for a rocky transition to a traditional culture where possessions count for little and everyone is expected to do his or her share.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 5, Issue 2