Strong Winds Trilogy: Ghosting Home by Julia Jones and Claudia Myatt

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Strong Winds Trilogy: Ghosting Home by Julia Jones and Claudia Myatt

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The concluding partt of this boating trilogy is a real thriller and will keep you guessing to the very end. Great stuff.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 272 Date: July 2012
Publisher: Golden Duck
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1899262069

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We first met Donny Walker in The Salt-Stained Book as he and his mother Skye left their home on the outskirts of Leeds and headed off to the Suffolk coast. When his deaf-and-mute mother had a breakdown fourteen-year-old Donny was taken into care and the only good thing in his life was that he was introduced (almost accidentally) to sailing. He was a natural. The worst parts of his life were that he wasn't allowed to see his mother and no matter what he did he seemed to keep running foul of Social Services and a certain police inspector. Something was going on, but could Donny and his new friends work out what it was? And would his great Aunt, known as Golden Dragon, be able to help him when she arrived in her boat Strong Winds?

Times have moved on and in this final part of the trilogy Donny is aware that the mysterious red-and-white schooner which he sees stealthily leaving its mooring is a serious threat to his family. Even a dramatic dash across the North Sea might not be enough to save them. In a seemingly unconnected thread, fourteen-year-old Min leaves his village on the first part of a journey which he hopes will take him to England. He's in search of his mother who left the village seven years before.

First - you could read this book without having read either of the first two books: you'd catch up eventually but it wouldn't be half as much fun as starting at the beginning. It's a rich, multi-faceted story and it would be a pity to miss out on any of it. Primarily it's a thriller, but the series has never fought shy of taking on the big issues. This time it's people-trafficking and Julia Jones doesn't patronise her readers. Descriptions and events are not gratuitously violent, but Julia Jones doesn't pull any punches about the evils of this trade. It's likely to provoke a lot of discussion.

It's a real talent to be able to develop a character, particularly of a boy in his early teens, over a trilogy but Donny comes off the page brilliantly. He's growing up and becoming more responsible. He's capable of working out what's to be done in a logical manner and he childish tantrums are a thing of the past. Well - when he does get into a strop he's quite capable of doing something unbelievably stupid and life threatening. It's not just Donny either - I can't think of a single character, old or young, male or female whom I failed to connect with.

Although Donny is the centre of the book it doesn't mean that it will only appeal to boys. There are strong female characters and the nature of the story means it's likely to appeal to boys and girls. If they've an interest in boats then it's likely they'll read the print off the page as the book is spot on about all things marine, but even if they're complete landlubbers they'll still enjoy the story and even learn quite a bit into the bargain. Add in illustrations by the brilliant Claudia Myatt and you've got a gem of a book.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals we think you might also enjoy The Messenger Bird by Ruth Eastham. It lacks the boats but centres on Bletchley Park and secrets kept hidden since World War II. Have a look too at The Treasure House by Linda Newbery and A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle.

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