Review Blog

Jun 01 2010

No way out by Gene Kemp

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Faber, 2010. 2010. ISBN 9780571244553.
(Ages 9-11) Recommended. Kemp, winner of the Carnegie medal for The turbulent term of Tyke Tiler, has written a scary story for young readers who like horror. Alex and Adam are twins who are telepathic. On their way to a farm for a family holiday, their father swerves to avoid an old woman in the middle of the road and crashes the car. The family goes off to the nearest town to get help. It is a strange place with weird inhabitants, all of whom focus on Emmy their little sister. Just what is going on in this town?
Kemp uses the device of telepathy between the twins to infuse a leavening of humour to the story. Adam tells the story and relates many of the twins' secret conversations where they say what they really think about people and events. Children will delight in the criticisms of the parents, the constant bickering and the amusing comments about the zombie-like villagers.
Alex comes across as a disagreeable, negative character. He is especially jealous of Emmy, who is in a wheelchair and resents the fact that everyone loves her. Adam, on the other hand, is depicted as the kind twin, who spends time reading Emmy stories and is determined that the villagers won't harm her.
The suspense in the story is built up skilfully, and the descriptions of the zombie like people and the mystery are not too frightening for a young reader.The brevity of the book, only 108 pages, makes this ideal for the young independent reader or one who wants something short but interesting.
Pat Pledger

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