Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Publication Date: 28/05/2020
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Mystery | Middle Grade
A boy awakens in the Afterlife, with a pocketful of vague memories, a key, a raven, and a mysterious Atlas to guide him as he sets out to piece together the mystery of his final moments…GoodReads
Back on Earth, Twiggy is a street kid with a missing dad. But when he meets Flea, a cheerful pickpocket, the pair become fast friends, better even than blood family itself. Together, Twig and Flea raise themselves on the crime-ridden streets, taking what they need and giving the rest to the even-poorer. Life is good, as long as they have each other. But the all-powerful Boss who rules the streets has other plans.
Loyalty will be tested, and a cruel twist of fate will lead to an act of ultimate betrayal that will tear the friends apart …forever?
I remember seeing another blogger (I’m so sorry, I can’t remember who!) tweet about this book a while ago, and there was something about it that I was drawn to and knew I had to pick it up for myself.
I really loved all of the characters in this novel, especially Twig and Flea. Their friendship was so lovely to see, even if it did cause some heartbreak at times for me! I liked how driven Twig was, both on Earth and in the afterlife, you couldn’t help but root for him and want the best for him. The same can be said for Flea too. Despite the circumstances that Flea has found themselves in, they just try so hard to be cheerful and see the brighter side of things. Which is a quality that is very difficult to come by. Whilst they don’t have a physical presence in the novel, I really liked the way the Gods were portrayed too. The facades they try to maintain of being both happy and in control, when really they’re just desperate.
The way the novel would jump between the present in the afterlife and then back to Twig’s memories of the events leading up to the present was really well done. I felt that you spent enough time in both locations for the pacing to feel right and not drawn out. The way the narrative would shift back from memory to the present just as something was about to be revealed or something big was revealed kept me hooked and eager to keep reading as the novel progressed.
I was caught totally off guard by the final chapters too and gasped several times as I kept getting hit with each twist and revelation. Fraillon does an excellent job of keeping you on your toes right until the final page. Whilst it did seem a lot was thrown at you in a short space of time, the ending makes it all worth it and ties it together nicely.
This novel tells a great story with some wonderful characters that you can’t help but fall in love with within moments of meeting them. I highly recommend this novel to everyone, whilst it is marketed as ‘middle grade’ – adults can also easily enjoy this novel just as much!