To the Edge of the World by Julia Green
|To the Edge of the World by Julia Green|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Lovely story about friendship, facing your fears and having the confidence to be different, all wrapped up in a celebration of the natural world. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: April 2018|
|External links: Author's website|
Imagine a tiny island far out in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Scotland. It's joined by causeway bridges top and bottom to other small islands, part of the archipelago called the Outer Hebrides. On some days you can hardly see where the sea ends and the land begins, everything merged in a blue-grey mist of sea spray and wind-blown sand.
This is where I live now.
There is nothing between here and America.
Jamie loves his new island home. He likes the school and he has even made some friends. But, with his history of being bullied, Jamie knows that he has some fears to conquer if he wants to follow his grandfather in the traditional island occupation of boat builder. His fear of the sea in particular. And this is what draws him to Mara, a strange, wild, independent girl who can handle a boat with aplomb. But Mara has her own demons and an approaching show down with the island authorities because of them...
... and when Mara decides to sail away from her problems to the uninhabited St Kilda archipelago, Jamie goes too. Will they make it through the dangerous reef? And if they do, how will they get back?
I loved this emotional story. At its heart is a friendship between two very different young people. Mara dares to be different. She is physically confident, plain speaking, and lives in the moment but she is not always tolerant of others. Jamie is full of anxiety and fear but he is also perceptive and loyal and kind. Together, they make a fine team even when there is tension between them. And, by the end of the book, they have both learned valuable lessons from each other - not only about themselves but about the world they must grow up to inhabit. It's such a lovely relationship and I don't mind admitting that I cried a little at the slightly sad but also sweet and hopeful ending.
A love of nature pervades the whole book. The Hebridean setting is gorgeous - rough and wild and alive with interesting birds and beautiful shells and dangerous seas. In the hand of a writer as accomplished as Green, this landscape rises from the pages and not just into your head but into your heart, too. I loved the way Green blends man's relationship with this remote environment into her story with descriptions of the now uninhabited St Kilda and fabulous sequences in which Jamie's grandfather, a boatbuilder, labours at a traditional craft.
To the Edge of the World is wonderful. Jamie and Mara's adventure is genuinely tense and exciting, the exploration of their friendship is genuinely moving, and the picture it gives of the natural world is genuinely beautiful. And not a single word is wasted.
There's something for everyone in this story and it comes highly recommended by me.
If To the Edge of the World appeals, I can imagine you might also enjoy Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis, a lovely story of love, loss and conservation and how one wild bird can bring friends, families and even strangers together. We also enjoyed Tilly's Moonlight Fox and The House of Light both by Julia Green.
You can read more book reviews or buy To the Edge of the World by Julia Green at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy To the Edge of the World by Julia Green at Amazon.com.
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