Title: The Light That Gets Lost
Author: Natasha Carthew
Published: November 5th 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: 320 pages
I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
A small boy hiding in a cupboard witnesses something no child should ever see. He tries not to look but he still hears it. And when he comes out, there’s no mistaking. His mum and dad have been killed. And though he’s only small, he swears that he’ll get revenge one day.
Years later, Trey enters a strange camp that is meant to save troubled teenagers. It’s packed with crazies, god-botherers, devoted felons and broken kids. Trey’s been in and out of trouble ever since the day the bad thing happened, but he’s he not here for saving: this is where he’ll find the man who did it. Revenge and healing, salvation and hell are a boiling, dangerous mix, and Trey finds himself drawn to a girl, a dream and the offer of friendship in the dark.
I was really intrigued by the blurb for this story when I first came across it. I also liked the cover, it was eye-catching enough to make me interested enough to click it and see more. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book when I first picked it up, and I’m still not really 100% sure how I feel about it now that I’ve read it.
When Trey was a young boy, he witnessed the murder of his parents in an attack that left his brother in a care home. Jumping from foster home to foster home and getting in trouble with the law, Trey is on a mission to find the man that killed his parents and get his revenge. And so he finds himself in a compound for troubled teens run by a group of reformed, religious men.
The idea behind this story was enough to get me interested in picking it up, but once I started reading, I found the disjointed narrative hard to get into and it took away from my enjoyment and overall understanding of the story.
I persevered, and I’m glad I did, but it is a proper slog getting through the beginning. Trey follows a rather dull routine as he joins the compound and starts making new friends. He immediately makes an enemy out of the ‘alpha’ kid there, which is the catalyst for things to come.
The ending of the book really brought up the rating for me. After a certain event, the adults all abandon the camp and the kids and it turns into a modern day Lord of the Flies, with a free-for-all war between the kids stuck in the camp.
Trey discovers something huge when he finally tracks down the man he believes is responsible for killing his family, and he begins to doubt himself and the dark thoughts he’s been harbouring for so many years. It irked me a little, that this seemed to be cast aside so quickly, but it was replaced with the rampaging kids so I couldn’t dwell on it for too long.
Trey and his group of friends work together to try and stay alive as well as escaping the camp. I really liked how his relationships with these kids evolved over his short time there, it was like the only happy thing about this book.
Bleak, yet hopeful, this story was something a bit different. Although I didn’t think I would like it when I first started reading, the book grew on me and I really enjoyed the end.
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About the Author
Natasha is a Country Writer from Cornwall. She was brought up in a council house on the south coast and spent her childhood climbing the cliffs and walking the countryside whilst writing poetry. This set the course for the rest of her life. She left school at fifteen with two GCSE’s and has worked in various jobs including gardener, cleaner, factory worker and school librarian.
Writing was the only job she ever wanted to do and is happy that she never tried for another career besides. Natasha still lives in Cornwall with her girlfriend of nineteen years. She has had three books of poetry published. Her first novel ‘Winter Damage’ was nominated for the 2014 Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for several national awards including the prestigious Branford Boase Award 2014. ‘The Light That Gets Lost’ will be published November 2015 and her third book, ‘Only The Ocean’ will be published by Bloomsbury in 2017.
She occasionally runs ‘Wild Writing’ workshops but spends most of her time writing outside in all weathers.