Far Rockaway by Charlie Fletcher

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Far Rockaway by Charlie Fletcher

Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Fabulous adventure combined with a family drama. As Cat lies in hospital after a terrible accident, her mind takes her to a world populated by iconic characters from the stories her grandfather read to her as a child. There, she must atone for the lie she told. Bookbag loved this rollicking adventure story with its complicated emotional landscape.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 432 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Hodder
ISBN: 034099732X

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Longlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013

Cat Manno and her grandfather Victor have a long-held ambition: to one day take the subway and ride it right the way to the very end, to Far Rockaway. Just for the sheer hell of it. But when the day comes, Cat's brother doesn't show. This is more than a disappointment to Cat - it's an utter betrayal. She needed Joe on the trip because she has a guilty secret. She hasn't read the latest book Victor gave her - he sends her a classic adventure every year on her birthday - and she knows he'll want to discuss as it they ride the train. Without Joe, Cat has no chance of concealing her sin.

But they never make it to the subway. A terrible traffic accident seriously injures Cat and Victor and things are touch and go for them both. In the hospital, Cat wakes not to the real world, but to a story-space, a world combining all the classic books she and Victor have read together. She'll meet Chingachgook from Last of the Mohicans, Long John Silver from Treasure Island and Alan Breck from Kidnapped. With their help, will Cat be able to save Victor? And will she ever wake to the real world? Will Victor?

I loved Fletcher's Stoneheart trilogy - in fact, my entire extended family loved it and each volume is well-thumbed - so I was really looking forward to reading Far Rockaway. I was expecting more in the way of easy-to-read, high-spirited adventure with a background of emotional depth to hold it up. And - hooray! - that's exactly what I got. As Cat moves through the world of classic fiction and meets these iconic heroes, there's enough in the way of fights, chases and narrow escapes to please any fan of high adventure. Her three helpers rise from the pages as vividly as they did in the books they come from. The villains too - don't think they've been forgotten. But there's also some tremendously affecting kitchen sink drama as we follow her family through surgical procedures and agonising worry in hospital waiting rooms.

Cat herself is a tremendous character. She's wild and headstrong and impulsive. And, as an adolescent, she can also be a little bit lazy and immature. It's this laziness that led her to lie to Victor about reading the book he gave her, but we forgive her immediately when we see how guilty she feels. She thinks that she can expiate the sin of this one lie if she can only save Victor from Magua, but we - and Victor - know that what she's really doing is saving herself.

As a tribute to wonderful classic fiction, Far Rockaway is fabulous. But it gives us a little bit of the 21st century too - Charlie Fletcher hasn't created a male central character; he's created a girl that can swashbuckle with the best of them. You gotsta love him for that!

Recommended.

My thanks to the good people at Hodder for sending the book.

Jacoby's Game by Alison Prince is another fabulous story that takes place in a dreamlike world while the main character is in a coma.

Buy Far Rockaway by Charlie Fletcher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Far Rockaway by Charlie Fletcher at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Far Rockaway by Charlie Fletcher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Far Rockaway by Charlie Fletcher at Amazon.com.


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