Wednesday 14 April 2021

You’ve Let Them In

You’ve Let Them In by Lois Murphy (Transit Lounge) PB RRP $16.99 ISBN 9781925760699

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This book is told in first person by 13-year-old Scott who at the start of the book is in shock on reaching his family’s new ramshackle home in an overgrown garden on the outskirts of town. To make matters worse, it’s school holiday time but instead of enjoying it, Scott and his sister Natalie and father, whom he calls Leo, and his eccentric stepmother Sally, are fully engaged in gardening and renovating the home while taking care of toddler twin girls. The garden is a jungle guarded by a concrete gnome which the family dog Prawn is fascinated with and which unexpectedly starts talking to Scott. The gnome says his name is Ian. He also adds that Prawn feels demeaned by his name: it is Count Antoine de Cappaliere the 26th, of the Woodland Brethren. ‘We communicate with the animals, with the birds and trees,’ Ian adds as Scott runs away.

Unfortunately, Ian is accidently smashed which causes Prawn to howl, whine, refuse to eat, and to bear his teeth at Scott.  A séance on a Ouija board with his friends unleashes harmful spirits which Ian calls faeries. Scott has vivid nightmares and strange and scary things start to happen, the least of which is electrical appliances malfunction and Sally is injured.

In this book, the narrator’s voice is strong and energetic. Scott is an outspoken boy who uses a lot of bad language which might offend some readers (and their parents). But the book rockets along at a fast pace as the family work to repair their home and garden, complete with a fowl yard (and talking chickens). There is much humour in the book (such as a restored Ian talking with a lisp until he tears a glob of glue from his mouth).

You’ve Let Them In, aimed at readers aged 9 to 12 years, is Transit Lounge’s first book for young readers.

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