*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
2018 B.R.A.G. MEDALLION HONOREE
Blurb: When twelve-year-old Ben’s parents don’t come home from work one day, he doesn’t know what to think—they’ve shown lack of responsibility before, but nothing like this. His six-year-old sister Lucy is more scared than he is and clings to him for support. Unwittingly fearful of the police and Child Protective Services, the children don’t want to end up in foster homes and will do anything to avoid being separated. Their journey—fraught with obstacles and people who may not have their best interests at heart—plays a significant role in building Ben’s character and eventually determining his fate.
Ben’s dad went to pick his mum up from work one day and neither of them returned, leaving twelve-year-old Ben and his younger sister Lucy home alone.
Nineteen Hundred Days is split roughly into two stories: that of Ben and Lucy struggling to survive and find help whilst evading official attention; and then a longer-spanning story of what happens to them when the adults do get involved. I really empathised with Ben. He coped so well with adversity and selflessly put his sister’s needs before his own, so I really felt his frustration at having that control taken out of his hands and having to play by the adult rules.
In fact, this book was full of emotional issues: from child neglect to cancer; loss of family members to social isolation. Ben also faces a number of moral dilemmas throughout the novel. Do you put family first, or obey the house rules? Is your action in the best interests of your loved one, or self-serving? Do you turn in a family member if you believe that they have done wrong? Who deserves your loyalty? Who can you trust? The reader follows Ben’s journey from childhood to adulthood, and his growth into an adult understanding of society and morality.
This is an emotional story about family and growing up, that fans of the ‘personal journey’ narrative will enjoy.
First thing the next morning, I checked my parents’ bedroom, hoping I’d find at least one of them in there, but the still-made bed told me they had not come home. The car wasn’t there either, confirming my suspicion. To make sure, I checked the kitchen waste basket for empty beer cans. Finding none on top of the garbage I’d put in there, I knew Dad hadn’t been home after I went to bed. Images of caseworkers from Child Protective Services coming to take us away flashed through my mind.
– Florence Osmund, Nineteen Hundred Days
Nineteen Hundred Days is available on Amazon right now.