When the Mountains Roared by Jess Butterworth
|When the Mountains Roared by Jess Butterworth|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Lovely story blending conservation and environmental issues with a young girl coming to terms with the death of her mother. Deeply moving and also uplifting.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: April 2018|
|External links: Author's website|
My fingers come away deep red. My breath catches. Blood. I wipe my shaky hands on my trousers. There's a leopard out there, injured. And I have to find it before they do.
Two months earlier, Ruby's dad had dropped a bombshell. They were moving from Australia to India, where her father had got a job at a hotel in the mountains. It was to be a new start and it would help both Ruby and her father get over the death of her mother. Ruby wasn't so sure about that and didn't get more optimistic on arrival - to find a rundown building full of scary corners in a place where the dark is really dark and the wildlife includes scorpions, bears and, well, you get the picture. Ruby has struggled since her mother died and it pretty much feels as though her father has brought her a place that makes everything worse...
... but then Ruby discovers the beautiful leopards. And the poachers intent on killing them all. And she resolves to stop them. Whatever the cost.
Oh, aww. I really enjoyed Jess Butterworth's first book, Running on the Roof of the World and so I was looking forward to seeing how she would follow it up. And I wasn't disappointed. When the Mountains Roared is a lovely story, full of warmth and vivid descriptions. But it's also deceptively clever - blending themes of grief, loss and the importance of family with the urgent need for conservation of our natural environment, and adding a bit of a crime mystery. It all fits together seamlessly and you couldn't wish for more.
Ruby is a relatable central character. Her mother's death has been devastating for her and made her more vulnerable to the various fears and insecurities that plague her - what lies in that dark corner? If she allows herself to fall asleep, will she ever wake up? But Ruby is also brave and determined and compassionate and her desperate desire to save the leopards overrides her fears and she steps up to the plate in a way that will have you cheering her on. She also proves to be a good and loyal friend and a daughter any father would be proud of.
Butterworth's vivid, energetic descriptions of the Himalayan landscape and wildlife are wonderful to read. Wrought from her own childhood memories and family stories handed down from her grandparents, you can really feel the abiding love and passion that sit at the heart of this book. Young readers will get a good idea of the size of the problems facing conservationists but will end the book feeling hopeful. And they will get a good understanding of how devastating the loss of a parent is but will end the book understanding that grief is a process and that things do get better.
Recommended to all young lovers of the natural world.
If you haven't already read Running on the Roof of the World then you really should! You might also enjoy Moon Bear by Gill Lewis, a heart-rending story about the use of bears in traditional Asian medicine.
You can read more book reviews or buy When the Mountains Roared by Jess Butterworth at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy When the Mountains Roared by Jess Butterworth at Amazon.com.
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