A boy whose life is turned upside down by paternal scandal finds solace with an imaginary creature who preaches the power and value of storytelling.
It’s summer, and 12-year-old Oli is confused when Mum makes it clear that just the two of them will be leaving London for the countryside and staying at his grandmother’s house for a time. When Oli realizes that his Dad won’t be joining them because he’s at the center of a high-profile political scandal and that his Mum isn’t being forthcoming about any of it, he retreats more and more into encounters with Eren, a beast in the attic not unlike a literary vampire, whose existence desperately depends on stories. Debut British-American author Clark creates a tale with mythic largesse, laced with narrative offerings from Oli’s friends and supporters. Each chapter begins with italicized encounters between Eren and Oli, as the book explores the relationship between truth and fiction, the essence of story, and the urgency of putting dreams and experiences into words “to fire imaginations and break worlds.”
Savvy readers and would-be writers will love this exploration of story as an art form, a panacea, and an endless part of life. (Fantasy. 10-14)