The Light Jar, by Lisa Thompson.
This book is by the same author as Goldfish Boy. I must admit that I haven’t read Goldfish Boy and I really only picked this up because of the reviews and the subject matter. However, having read it, I will certainly be reading more of Lisa Thompson’s books in the future.
This is the story about Nate and his mother (but mostly Nate) and it starts when they are forced to make a hasty escape from everyday life. There is good reason behind their sudden flit, but this isn’t explained very clearly to Nate by his mum. They go to a house in the middle of nowhere, a place Nate has spent holidays before (which ties in later with the mysterious girl in the woods). The house is safe, but they need food and when Nate’s mum goes to stock up, she doesn’t return.
Alone, Nate has to face uncertainty and fear, as well as some more mundane things (watch out for the cameo appearance of the pooing chicken). He relies on his predicting ball for answers that never quite come. He defeats the shadows with a light in a jar, but as hours turn to days it is the reappearance of his old friend, Sam, that helps most. Sam is his imaginary friend of old. The mysterious Kitty appears and refuses to leave Nate alone. At this point two mysteries become entwined to provide a book full of intrigue and suspense. It is easy to spoil the surprises, so I will say no more on this.
It is worth noting that there are a number of themes in this book that are definitely challenging. Gary is emotionally abusive towards Nate’s mum and sometimes this can feel very painful. Having said that, it is sensitively handled by the author and integral to the plot.
As the book goes on, however, I was filled with a sense of hope for the characters. It shows the need to hang in there and have faith.
Owing to the serious themes in the book, this isn’t one for the very young (whatever their reading ability). So 10+ and all the way up. We give this a Yellowbird rating of 5 Yellowbirds: