Zo and her mother, stepfather Jake and their baby Tayo have moved home to Saaman Bay in Trinidad. Zo’s beloved father, with whom she often used to set out on exploratory walks, has stayed in New York where the family used to live. Zo has decided she will run away into the local forest where her father told her there is an abandoned research centre named the Zoo. She believes that by escaping to the forest she will force her father to fly from New York and find her.
In the forest Zo encounters more than she bargained for. She meets a boy who is lost, a boy named Adri. Zo is puzzled. Who is this lost boy? Does he have any connection to the mysterious zoo supposedly hidden in the forest? If so, what is that connection? What dangers confront them in the mysterious forest? Will Zo and Adri both manage to leave the forest alive?
The book hits a peak of interest in an episode which candidly took this reviewer by surprise. The two children meet a mechanical spider named Captain Peg. The relationship between the two children and this robotic arachnid is depicted with unusual skill and delicacy. This strange episode succeeds in driving the narrative with greater power and immediacy than other episodes, which amount to a ceaseless litany of threatened disasters. Late in the book the reader learns that the boy Adri has a secret – not to be divulged in this review. The revelation is guaranteed to revive flagging interest. But it comes too late in the book to deliver its full impact.