From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9–Tom, 12, would rather be home in Dorset enjoying his summer vacation and hanging out with his mates. Instead, his cancer-stricken mother has driven them both to London to stay with her estranged mother. As soon as they arrive, Tom begins to hear voices from across the gap, a time portal in the basement of his grandmother's house. The voices belong to a group of adults and children with physical deformities who have been sideshow attractions at Bartholomew Fair for much of their lives. Tom enters their 18th-century world and, with the assistance of some 21st-century technology, helps to free them from their oppressive lives. In the process, he comes to terms with his own family history and renews his hope for his mother's recovery. Dark in tone and suspenseful from the outset, the story contains many gruesome details from this period in English history. They include grave robbing by unethical surgeons looking for specimens for dissection, and the genuinely disturbing implication that female freaks, including a young girl among Tom's companions, were offered as exotic prostitutes. Hearn's sympathetic characterizations of Tom's friends make their degradation all the more troubling, and their release all the more uplifting. Fast-paced, creepy, hard to put down, and definitely not for the fainthearted.–Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT
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"Sign of the Raven leaps so many gaps -- between present and past, good and evil, life and death, the ordinary and the truly extraordinary."
-- Geraldine McCaughrean
"Julie Hearn [is] someone whose work I always read with pleasure."
-- Philip Pullman