My brother, Finch by Kate Gordon

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How do you deal with the mysterious disappearance of a child? Your son, your brother. Who is there one minute and gone the next. How do you live through each day without thinking what if? Without reliving past moments imprinted on your brain.

For Wren, the disappearance of her brother Finch, just 11 months younger than herself, is something that she may never recover from. It is three years since he disappeared on a family outing to the local Coal Mines and there has been no word, no sighting, nothing. Alongside Finch’s disappearance was also, on the same day at the same place, the disappearance of Ava, a young child from a wealthy family. Where did they go? Were they taken? What really happened? Ava’s family have the wealth to keep the media interest and coverage going, whereas Finch’s disappearance appears as almost an afterthought in the news. Wren and her parents cope in the only way they know how and the three are just getting through each day.

For Wren, Finch was larger than life. Full of energy, a love of adventure, a desire to express himself, always on the go. Happy to be with his sister, to wear her clothes, to have her paint his nails, he was the extra bright light in the family. Wren was the quieter sibling who loved to see the world through photographs, who read, who felt dimmed by Finch’s presence. But with Finch now missing, Wren struggles to exist. She is entirely lessened and racked by guilt by what happened on the day he vanished. Wren talks to Finch on a daily basis and feels his presence always but continually wonders if she is mad.

When Wren begins high school, she and new girl Freddie buddy up and form a friendship based on fragile common interests but also unshared secrets. They notice another isolated student who appears and then disappears, and their interest is roused enough to investigate further. This leads to a startling connection between the three girls.

Award-winning author Kate Gordon tells an incredible story through both prose in the form of short sentences and clever verse. This novel will tug at your heart strings and leave you longing for closure. The ending may not be what you are expecting but the incredible use of language to explore the characters, their emotions and their struggles make this story a compelling read. 

Themes: Mystery, Child Disappearance, Sibling Bond, Grief, School, Friendship, Guilt, Secrets.

Kathryn Beilby