Twister by Juliette Forrest
|Twister by Juliette Forrest|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: A sturdy, no-nonsense heroine with a wry sense of humour and a quirky way with words faces an outlandish and vicious villain in her quest to save her family.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 300||Date: February 2018|
|External links: Author's website|
Twister certainly lives up to her stormy name. She's so stubborn and determined that she's almost a force of nature in her own right, and she's fiercely loyal to her family. Her beloved father has disappeared and her mother is sunk in a dreary depression where she barely seems aware of her daughter's existence: if it weren't for Aunt Honey and her wonderful cooking, and Point the dog, she would feel all alone in the world.
School isn't much comfort. Twister loves to learn, although a childhood spent roaming the woods and hills means she finds it hard to sit still and concentrate, but there are mean girls and a thoroughly obnoxious boy with a taste for casual violence. At last she's had enough: folks are accusing her absent father of starting the fire that killed two people, so she decides to follow the one clue she has and find him, to cheer her mother up and return them all to the warm and caring family she once knew. What ensues is spooky, scary, sad and funny, sometimes all at the same time, and although there isn't an easy, happy-ever-after ending readers will feel more than satisfied as they close the book. Yes, there's magic, but the way people behave and the things they do can all be logically explained. Clem's a bully because his jailbird dad beats him up if he shows any weakness. Part of the best clue to the mystery vanishes before Twister can read it because of an incident many readers will identify with, and the solution to the enigma of her father's disappearance eventually makes perfect, if heart-breaking, sense.
There are certainly some original and gripping elements to this debut book which mean we will be keeping an eye out for anything else Ms Forrest writes. Twister makes her first good friend, although it has to be said Beam is pretty unusual in her behaviour, and there's a local wood witch who brews the most bizarre tea imaginable. There's a necklace that can turn you into a wolf or a fish, and a tree with, as they say, attitude – and not in a good way. The villain has a coat you would not want to try on – not for any amount of money - and if he ever came to your neighbourhood you'd be glad to have bold, cheerful Twister as your friend. Big characters, a magical setting, creepy villains and, to top it all off, Twister's own voice, with her droll take on life and eccentric turn of phrase. Her mother is as quiet as her shadow and she describes how clouds must be really sensitive because they change colour when they're sad and begin to cry. She thinks the globe on Miss Ida's desk looks like a gobstopper, and that if she licked it the sea would taste of blueberry. Twister is as irresistible, warm and fierce as a summer storm, and many a young reader will dream of having her bravery and strength. A book not to be missed.
If you like to read tales of brave young heroines faced with extraordinary challenges, you'll enjoy A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge about Neverfell, the only person in her world who is born able to show her expressions on her face. You could also try The Last Duchess: a Silver Service Mystery by Laura Powell where newly trained lady's maid Pattern has to protect her mistress from a terrible fate, and Lilliput by Sam Gayton, about Lily, a girl only inches high who is determined to escape from her cage in our world to return to her beloved grandmother.
You can read more book reviews or buy Twister by Juliette Forrest 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 Twister by Juliette Forrest at Amazon.com.
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