FOUND by June Oldham


Age Range: 10 - 14
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 A riveting novel. In the frightening, believable 21st-century England Oldham envisions, middle-class office workers live at their jobs and are taxed on their children, while street people are beaten without question by the police. When Ren's mother is pregnant with a second child, she shuttles Ren off to live with a friend in the deserted countryside. Connections are missed, and Ren, who has only eaten TV dinners and viewed the world through a video screen, bravely tries to live on her own in a secret cave. Salvation arrives in the unlikely forms of Lil, a teenage street person, and Found, an abandoned baby. Chance meetings with a pair of young men (Brocket and Hilary) and the elderly Mrs. Gimmer solve the problems of feeding and clothing the child: Their mutual cooperation is good for the child--and good for each other, as well. When Found is kidnapped and, later, gravely ill, the four young people risk their own lives to protect the baby. Oldham's characters are very human; while it is shocking when Lil murders an elderly woman to save Found, her motivations and actions are honestly and authentically rendered. The theme of civilization crumbling into chaos is a smartly played riff on most readers' fears of divorce and family separation. While the ending is cautiously optimistic, an undercurrent and violence warns of the consequences, should self-interest prevail over concern for the common good. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-531-09543-6
Page count: 199pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1996