From School Library Journal
Grade 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, Inc.
*Starred Review* Gr. 8-10. Brooks, author of Martyn Pig
(2002), offers an-edge-of-the-seat story that has overtones of classics such as The Ox Bow Incident
and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Fifteen-year-old Cait lives on a small British island and knows from the moment she sees Lucas walking on the causeway that connects her home to the mainland that he will play a significant part in her life. A handsome, prescient young drifter, Lucas is tagged as a thief by the rougher elements on the island. Cait's college-age brother has begun hanging out with one of them--Oxford student Justin, who has a dark side. As Justin becomes a danger, and Lucas a blessing, both Cait and the reader feel the confluence of events building with an intensity that is almost painful. In a final scene, the extensive foreshadowing that has permeated the book builds to a terrible climax. It's not so much what Brooks writes about (sometimes the plotting is over the top), but the way he writes. There's a purity to his style that pervades the narrative, which is by turns sweet, taut, and terrifying. The relationship between Cait and her father has a reality and honesty that's affecting. Teens may pick this up for its sheer intensity, but once they put it down, they'll ponder its meanings. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved