When 11-year old Indigo and her older brother Robin arrived in South Africa to stay with their father, they find a luxury lifestyle that is a world away from their modest experience back in England. But Indigo is uneasy in the foreign landscape and confused by the family's silence surrounding her mother's recent death. Unable to find solace in either new or old faces, she begins to harbour violent suspicions in place of the truth.To start with, I often don't like novels where the protagonist is a child, as it's very easy to get the tone wrong and I often find child characters annoying, but I really liked Indigo. It helped that although the story is about her feelings and experience, it also has bits told from her mother's point of view, as well as the occassional bit from her mother's mother. It's all internal monologue as well, which works really well for the story and means you don't get too much outside influence. Because of this I really felt like I was thinking what Indigo was thinking, rather than being several steps ahead of her. Although I knew what had happened to her mother a long time before she did, I felt like I didn't because Hannah Vincent did such a good job of keeping me in her head.
I also really enjoyed the depiction of South African culture. I have quite a few South African friends and have always found their descriptions of the security surrounding their houses amazing and a world away from my own experience, and Alarm Girl really expanded on that. In terms of both setting and character it felt very believable, which is great because sometimes when I read novels set in a country but written by someone who isn't from that country the setting is a little bit jarring and detracts from the story, but that really wasn't the case here at all.
Over all, Alarm Girl is about the importance of telling kids the truth, and I loved the extreme suspicions Indigo formulates in response to not knowing the truth of what really happened to her mother - I really felt her desperation for her mother to still be alive and it was heart -wrenching.
Because this was such a great book, I'm giving away a copy! The giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and all you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below. I'll pick a winner on Sunday night. You'll notice that the Facebook page is for The Ninja Book Swap which is because it's awesome, and as I haven't yet set up a Facebook page for this blog, the book swap is the closest one I have. Plus, did I mention that it's awesome? :-) Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway