Wildspark

Publisher: Scholastic

Review

Prue lives on her parents' farm, working with the mechanimals she helped to create. But when a craftsman from the big city comes to offer her brother Francis an apprenticeship, unaware that he recently died, she jumps at the chance.

Knowing that inventors have discovered a way to harness the spirits of dead people and revive them in mechanical animal bodies, she disguises herself as "Frances" and takes up the apprenticeship, determined to find a way to bring her brother back.

But with creepy creatures in the forest, the pressure of keeping her mission a secret and the fact that she has to share a dormitory with snooty Cora, Prue will be taking on more than she could possibly have imagined...

Vashti Hardy has conjured up an utterly believable world in Wildspark which draws you in, captivating in its inventiveness. Prue is a winning heroine, and along with the wonder and adventure, there are plenty of deep and difficult questions to consider about death, life, grief and prejudice.

Skilfully mixing elements of science fiction, school stories and fantasy, Wildspark already feels like a children's classic – and one that you'll struggle to forget.

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