Award winning author Marcus Sedgwick’s YA debut for publishers Barrington Stoke is a layered, unsettling and intense novella that will capture teen readers’ attention. Wrath is a story that drew me in and compelled me to read to the end without stopping. A mystery set during the first lockdown of the Covid pandemic this has a currency that adds to its impact.
Cassie Cotton is different from Fitz’s other friends. She is a bit unusual, the more unkind describe her as crazy but she intrigues Fitz. When Cassie disappears after being teased and bullied at school Fitz is determined to find her but he really has no idea where to start looking and he fears that he is running out of time.
Fitz is the story’s narrator and his voice draws you in to his personal world and within pages the reader is accompanying him in his attempts to locate Cassie. Then the story gradually expands in scale and scope. It is cleverly executed as through switching time lines we learn of the events that preceded Cassie’s disappearance. She can hear a noise that no one else can hear. A sound, a low ‘hum’, that tells her that the Earth is in distress and damaged as a result of climate change. It is this belief that leads to her being made fun of by others at their school. The story and the writing is both powerful and subtle as the plot builds up gradually as more background is hinted at and subsequently revealed.
Marcus Sedgwick addresses issues that concern teens today in a way that will promote discussion and considered thought about our connections with each other and our world. He explores teen relationships, dysfunctional families, the climate crisis and the effect of the pandemic and the lockdowns on young people. The themes are important and relevant and Sedgwick’s treatment of them is both accessible and riveting. It is such a cliché to say ‘I couldn’t put it down’ but this time it’s true.
I should like to thank Barrington Stoke for my proof copy. The book is edited to a reading age of 9 and is suitable for dyslexic readers due to both its editing and presentation, however the content, including language, is for teens. Wrath by Marcus Sedgwick is published on 3rd March and is available to pre-order/purchase online at Bookshop. If this story appeals you may also like to try one of Anthony McGowan’s books for Barrington Stoke, The Truth of Things.
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