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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

An unforgettable novel from the award-winning author of Wolf Hollow and Beyond the Bright Sea.

1933. When Ellie and her family lose everything, they flee to Echo Mountain to build a new life. Ellie runs wild, exploring the mountain's mysteries. But the one she can't solve is who's leaving the gifts for her: tiny, beautiful wooden carvings of animals and flowers, dotted around the mountain for her to find.

Then Ellie's father has a terrible accident. Now he lies in a coma, while Ellie shoulders the blame for what happened. When she sets out to find a cure for him, she discovers Cate, the outcast witch, and Larkin, a wild mountain boy. From them she learns about being a healer, being brave - and about how there can be much more to a person than first meets the eye.

©2020 Lauren Wolk (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Harper Lee has a worthy successor. Wolk is a big new talent." (The Times

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A STORY THAT WILL STAY WITH YOU

It is 1933 and Ellie's family have to leave the comfort of their home, due to losing everything in the Great Depression, for the mystical sounding Echo Mountain. As a family they have to live more humbly and rely on the food found within the mountains, which more often than not requires Ellie and her father going out to hunt and fish. This I feel is one of the strengths of the story as it does not shy away that the family, in order to survive, have to hunt and kill animals.

One day whilst Ellie, her brother and father are out cutting down a tree for firewood, there is a tragic accident. This ends up with her father being put into a severe state of unconsciousness. With her father 'out of action' Ellie is required to take over the role from her father in feeding and to some extent looking after her family.

Whilst out in the wild, exploring the beauty of the mountains, Ellie keeps coming across small gifts such as flowers, wood carvings and food, that appear to be for her to find. And then she comes across Cate, the outcast witch, and Larkin, her grandson. From them she learns that she has the confidence in which to heal Cate, who is unwell herself, and her own father.

I think this is definitely a strong contender for the 2021 Carnegie Children's Book Prize. It has all the elements of a good story, and one that will remain in your head after you finish. I love stories where there are friendships between an adult and child. I love how Cate and Ellie learn from each other. I feel there is a message weaving through the story regarding greed and ownership, especially in regards to resources that nature has given us. I really do urge you to read this book, whether you are an adult or child.