Wrath

Authored by Marcus Sedgwick
Published by Barrington Stoke

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I can’t remember ever being disappointed by a Barrington Stoke novel. As expected, this strong tale is skilfully told with interesting and relatable characters and great empathy. For such a short book, less than 125 pages, Marcus Sedgwick certainly packs in a whole lot of story.

The story revolves around Cassie Cotten, an interesting but different young girl and Fitz her ultra-sensible and caring friend. They share a close relationship and obviously are comfortable in each other’s company. No conversation is off limits. Cassie is the only daughter of parents who are fighting to make the world a better place. Both parents are activists who have given up high paid careers to try and save the world. Fitz lives with his father who is struggling to make ends meet.

Cassie can hear a constant humming noise. None of her peers and including Fitz can hear these noises. She can’t understand why nobody else can hear these strange sounds. She resorts to wearing noise blocking headphones to try and block out the noise. Fitz really likes Cassie and wants to understand and believe what she is saying. They are both in a school band. Unfortunately, the other band members are not so understanding and, overheard by Cassie, they egg Fitz on saying she is strange. Under immense peer pressure Fitz says that Cassie is ‘Crazy girl Hey!’. On hearing this Cassie storms off.

The story is set amidst the tension of lockdown during the pandemic of 2020. During this time, Cassie and Fitz had met illegally in the park and were constantly worried about being found out, not wearing face coverings, keeping two metres apart and even worse, catching the virus! A stark reminder of the surreal times we all went through.

Cassie talks about wanting to get away, completely away, as far away as she can get from everyone and from the noise. She finds some information on a website about a group of people who are experiencing  a similar noise problem that are planning to meet in Scotland. She forwards this to Fitz to try and make him understand more about the problem.

Cassie goes missing and Fitz is determined to unravel the mystery of where she has gone. Armed with the information from the website and a secret message left in their special place, Fitz is uncertain whether to tell the police. His father persuades him he must tell them all he knows. Fitz and his father go on a road trip to try and find Cassie and bring her home.

The book is edited to a reading age of 8+ and is dyslexia-friendly due to both the editing and presentation. There are so many additional layers to this story aimed at teenage readers. It explores themes of climate change, alternative living, nature, parenthood, peer pressure, love, respect, truth and a celebration of different.

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