Winter Damage by Natasha Carthew

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Winter Damage by Natasha Carthew

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A beautiful odyssey set in a harsh landscape in an even harsher world. A wonderful sense of place, and unforgettable characters. Highly, highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: August 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1408835835

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The moor and all it had got was out there waiting for her in the dark, a cold rock thing, hard as nails.

But Ennor doesn't see another choice. She has to go. The fourteen-year-old girl lives with her ailing father and autistic brother, Trip, in a trailer on the frozen Cornish moor. Ennor's mother has been gone for years - after they lost the farm and Ennor's father turned to drugs, she turned to religion. And left. But now the country is falling to pieces. There are riots. There's no money to be earned. School has closed. Father is getting iller. They're behind on the rent and eviction is looming. The social are threatening to take Trip away. There's nothing else for it.

So Ennor packs a tarp, a saucepan, a map and a shotgun, leaves Trip in the care of her friend Butch, and sets off across the moor in search of her errant mother. Along the way, she'll meet friends and enemies both. And in some ways, but not all, she'll find what was lost...

It's not easy, making poetry out of pain and need and hunger, but Winter Damage does it. There is such a sense of place Anyone who knows - and loves - the wild and rugged Cornish landscape will recognise it, but it's overlaid with extra danger and loneliness in the near-future, crumbling world that Carthew has imagined. Towns are deserted. Wild dogs run in the streets. And the moors are covered with the snow of a winter harsher than many have ever known. Ennor's troubled world may be less apocalyptic than that of the father and the boy in Cormac McCarthy's The Road, but there are similarities. And yet, it's beautiful.

Beautiful too, is the relationship between Ennor and Sonny, the gypsy girl Ennor meets early on in her travels. Early mistrust soon turns to a friendship marked by absolute trust and the kind of bickering you only have with someone you have known forever. Desperate need, a life on a knife-edge, an uncertain world and future - these things allow Ennor and Sonny to share an immediate intimacy that would normally take years to develop. And remember - these girls are just fourteen years old. They've been forced into adulthood. And yet, even in these dire circumstances, somehow they blossom.

I don't want to say too much about what actually happens. It'd spoil it all. I just want to say that Winter Damage is a beautiful book. It's mysterious and lyrical, sad but hopeful, and truly unforgettable.

We also have a review of Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew.

If Winter Damage sounds like your kind of thing, then you might also enjoy Heaven Eyes by David Almond, The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff or perhaps even The Great Harlequin Grim by Gareth Thompson.

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Buy Winter Damage by Natasha Carthew at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Winter Damage by Natasha Carthew at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Winter Damage by Natasha Carthew at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Winter Damage by Natasha Carthew at

Booklists.jpg Winter Damage by Natasha Carthew is in the Top Ten Teen Books of 2013.


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