Almond, David, Raven Summer. Random House Books, 2008. Language: PG (7 swears, no “f”s), Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G
Sometimes something happens that changes your life forever. For Liam, living with his parents in the Northumberland Village of war-torn Iraq doesn’t present a lot of opportunities. One day, when he is out playing with his friend, Max, however, he is led by a noisy raven to a baby on top of a pile of clothes. Feeling compelled to rescue the child, he takes her home. When he takes the baby home, the family falls in love with her, but feel the need to give the baby to the police. When the police are unable to locate the child’s mother, the baby is given to a nearby foster family where Liam continues to visit her and befriend the other two foster children, Crystal and Oliver. When their foster father has a heart attack and the parents are forced to give up the three children, Max’s father and mother take in the infant. Crystal and Oliver, however, are split up. Shortly after, the two run away and come to Liam for help. With the threat of death if he’s sent back to Liberia, Oliver reveals his dark past. When violence increases around them and the three are attacked by the village bully, Liam begins to wonder if his Catholoic upbringing may be true. Is violence really programmed into every child or is what their exposed to what change them? If so, can nurture overcome one’s past?
An intriguing, eye-opening novel that addresses war and the evil in the world. The characters are well-developed. Although the plot is slow and drags on in places, the chapters are short and read relatively quickly despite the plot lags. Readers who like books that take place in other countries, realistic fiction, and human interest stories will enjoy reading this book MS. OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.