Wednesday 21 March 2018

In the Dark

In the Dark by Carole Poustie (Celapene Press) PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 9781925572001

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Ish is a thirteen year old boy who spends his summer holidays with his mum and sister at his gran’s house ‘up near the Murray [his] favourite place in the world’. He and his older sister, Molly, have also planned to spend a week of their holidays with their father, who moved to Sydney after separating from their mother.

Ish’s plan of fishing every day on the Murray, with his dog Lucky, comes to an abrupt end shortly after arriving. He and his sister become grounded, after a careless accident, and must spend most of their days at the house. Soon after being grounded Ish finds himself in hot water again when he enters his gran’s forbidden old cellar and comes across a letter. The letter is not addressed to him, however, he chooses to open it and the contents immediately changes his world.

It seems that their parent’s separation has put a strain on everyone’s relationship. Molly is rude and disrespectful and has trouble relating to anyone. Ish is resentful towards his dad for moving away. The children’s mother and their gran also have trouble connecting at times. Will time with their father in Sydney help smooth things out? Or will the letter Ish found change relationships forever?

In the Dark is a middle fiction novel suited to those who like drama and suspense. It has themes of family, friendship, loss and dishonesty. The story is written in the first person by Ish, a nickname given to him at birth. Throughout the story Ish writes poetry, a passion he shared with his late grandfather. Not only does he use it as a way of expressing himself but it is also a way of keeping a beautiful connection to his grandfather. In the Dark is Carole’s second novel for children.

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