By David Almond
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780385738064, 198pp.
Publication Date: November 10, 2009
Liam and his friend Max are playing in their neighborhood when the call of a bird leads them out into a field beyond their town. There, they find a baby lying alone atop a pile of stones with a note pinned to her clothing. Mystified, Liam brings the baby home to his parents. They agree to take her in, but police searches turn up no sign of the baby's parents. Finally they must surrender the baby to a foster family, who name her Allison. Visiting her in Northumberland, Liam meets Oliver, a foster son from Liberia who claims to be a refugee from the war there, and Crystal, a foster daughter. When Liam's parents decide to adopt Allison, Crystal and Oliver are invited to her christening. There, Oliver tells Liam about how he will be slaughtered if he is sent back to Liberia. The next time Liam sees Crystal, it is when she and Oliver have run away from their foster homes, desperate to keep Oliver from being sent back to Liberia. In a cave where the two are hiding, Liam learns the truth behind Oliver's dark past and is forced to ponder what all children are capable of.
Starred Review, Booklist, September 15, 2009:
"The kindness in every chapter is heartbreaking too. A haunting story, perfect for group discussion."
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 9, 2009: “Almond tackles complex questions about humanity
from multiple points of view; flashes of wisdom—sometimes painful, sometimes uplifting—arrive at unexpected moments”
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2009: “[A] hypnotic, sensuous foray into the nature of war, truth, art and the savagery of humanity.”