‘Dark Peak,’ by Marcus Sedgwick, cover by Carolina Rodriguez Fuenmayor.

The Oxford University Press have produced a brand new range of highly-readable titles for less confident KS3 readers (aged 11 up.) They’ve created the ‘Super-readable Rollercoasters’ in collaboration with Barrington Stoke who are known for their dyslexia-friendly format and snappy, engaging stories.

I was lucky enough to be sent two of these titles to review, the first of which being by celebrated author, Marcus Sedgwick.

‘During a long, hot summer, two children, Stephanie and Stephen, go missing while on a school trip to Lud’s Church, a deep chasm in the heart of the Peak District. Porter and his friend, Sam, are sent to fetch help.

When they return they are surprised to find that although Stephanie has been found, no one is even looking for Stephen anymore. Why can no one remember what has happened him? What happened in the dark of Lud’s Church? And why does Porter get the feeling that supernatural forces from deep in the past are at play?’

I can imagine that fans of tense, supernatural thrillers are going to love the brooding, overcast feel of this story where ancient forces and Arthurian legend fuse into one gripping story. I found the notes at the back about the setting and inspiration for this story really useful. They really helped me get a feel for the place and understand more about the legends and folklore which ran through the tale.

Set during the heatwave of 1976, you can feel the heat radiating from the pages as Porter and his classmates set off on their ill-fated school trip. I think that readers will empathise with the children’s unwillingness to give up half their weekend to visit a chasm!

Less confident readers are going to love this series of accessible titles with age appropriate themes and characters. Secondary school libraries need to snap these up!

Library Girl.

*Many thanks to Oxford University Press for sending me this title to review*

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