Thursday 29 September 2022

A Walk in the Dark

A Walk in the Dark by Jane Godwin (Puffin) Paperback RRP $16.99 ISBN 978 0 734 420770

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks


Five teenagers set off on an overnight school hike. 'It's just a walk in the dark. What is there to worry about?' That’s what head teacher, Johan says. But what he doesn’t know is that a storm is brewing. The teens head into the forest late afternoon, unaware of what will unfold. Yet, what happens will change them forever. To survive, each must use their own individual strengths and learn to trust each other. Set in the rainforest of Victoria’s Otway Ranges, A Walk in the Dark is about friendship, family, trust, identity and setting boundaries.

Jane Godwin has written a unique, enthralling read with a strong plotline and characterisation. The story is both fresh and modern. For example - same parent families, not fitting in, self-acceptance, family dynamics and home situations are explored. The voice is strong and believable. The reader is constantly surprised as each teen grows and changes.

‘I’ll catch you before your ankle hits the ground. Trust me,’ said Elle, the water rushing so close to them. ‘Hold my hand.’ As the storm builds, dangers unfold, and relationship dynamics increase. They stood in a little circle, soaked through, shivering, frightened and exhausted. ‘What do we do now?’ said Ash.


Godwin has created tension in each chapter and the dialogue moves the story along. The sentence lengths vary according to the tension and story pacing. Chrystal hummed. Looked up. ‘Where are the birds now?’ There are no adults which is attractive to its readership. I love the fact that lots of information about various topics is shared by each character which lets a reader learn things informally. This book has a strong Australian environmental element too.


A Walk in the Dark is a brilliant read for children aged eleven and up. I would highly recommend this book to teenagers, parents, schools, and librarians because it’s so well written and captivating. Just as the highly acclaimed book Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden (1993) captivated a middle grade audience and still does today A Walk in the Dark will gain a young readership today.

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