‘Where the Wilderness Lives,’ by Jess Butterworth, cover by Rob Biddulph.

Jess’s writing is fantastic so I was delighted to be sent a copy of her newest title which is firmly rooted in the great outdoors.

Cara, her siblings and their Irish wolfhound live on a boat in the countryside. They love their beautiful boat and the fact they can step off the boat and into nature whenever they want. However, Cara is starting to wonder if she ought to keep quiet about where she lives as some of the other kids at school have started making fun of her.

One day, the canal is drained so it can dredged and the siblings discover a very mysterious locked safe which they are determined to break into. Who knows what treasures it might hold?

But they are not the only ones desperate to get to the contents of the safe. Someone else to determined too. Very determined. And they will stop at nothing to get their hands on it.

Following a break-in and a fire, Cara and her siblings flee to the remotest reaches of Wales to find their father’s cabin as they’re sure he’ll be able to help him. When injuries and snowstorms threaten to stop them, the group need to pull together and draw on their last reserves of energy and nerve to try and get to safety…

Another fantastic piece of writing from Jess. She conjured several magical landscapes: from wild riverbanks to snow-filled wildernesses to ancient woodlands. Each vividly described in all their raw beauty and danger. I was there with the children as the wended their way through them all and routing for them to reach their destination.

I also loved the fact that this book represented a family unit which was not the norm. They were a single-parent family who lived in a houseboat. They were close-knit but still had secrets and squabbles. It was also refreshing to see a deaf character and their service dog featured in a totally casual way, without any fanfare. All types children from all types of families should see themselves represented in the books they read.

An enthralling, pacey and totally modern read, interlaced with moments of ancient legend. Love it! For readers aged 9+

Library Girl.

*Thank you to Orion Children’s Books for sending me this title to review*

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