Bonnie lives in a dystopian world where everyone’s life is ruled by an authoritarian regime. Even living in a wild and windswept coastal village she and her Granda cannot escape the attentions of the Border Police and one day she hopes to follow her mother, who had left home to find freedom when Bonnie was a small child. Life changes dramatically when Bonnie finds an upturned boat, and later a young boy called Ish; could this mean that she has the opportunity to escape from her grim life? Her attempt to cross the sea puts Bonnie, her Granda and Ish in great danger, but the desire for freedom keeps them going.
Julia Green has given us yet another thought provoking and at times heart wrenching story that bridges the gap between middle grade and younger teens. The story itself flows easily but the themes that are explored require the reader to think about many issues that actually affect us in this day and age. The author has created a world that is bleak and hard, with little or none of the comforts that we are used to; Bonnie has grown up with this but longs to escape to a better life and possibly find her mother as well. The relationship between this young girl and her crusty old grandfather is beautifully shown, together with the less tangible desire for her mother; both elements emphasizing the strong bonds of family despite differences. The arrival of Ish and then the journey that they all undertake also highlights the difficulties and dangers faced by those who have to flee their homes, whatever the reason. When reading this story you have a real sense of the difference between the world that most of us know and the world that the characters inhabit. The story really resonates with the reader and I think that many young people will find that it relates to the way they think about the way we live. It is a beautiful story.