When Shadows Fall

Publisher: Little Tiger

Kai, Zak and Orla grow up near the Rec, an abandoned piece of wild land in the countryside. It’s a safe paradise when they are children. But then a series of tragedies strike and Kai is knocked off course and into a downward spiral of drugs, crime and violence, while the Rec is threatened by housing developers.

Om, a refugee, comes to Kai’s aid with friendship and understanding. As Kai seems ever more doomed, Zak, Orla and Om pull together to try to save him. Saving the Rec becomes a metaphor for their struggle.

The novel is written partly in verse and in multiple voices, including those of two ravens that Kai cares for. It covers many sensitive topics, such as gang culture, a suicide attempt, infant death, and drug abuse. This is all handled sensitively, emphasising the importance of understanding why young people make bad choices and what lies behind their behaviour.

The book is a challenging but interesting read for children aged 13 and over, who are ready to read about and discuss complex but important topics.

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