Reading Julie Hearn's first novel for children is a fascinating experience. Inventive and well-researched, Follow Me Down spirals from modern times to the historic, from the grotesque to the life-affirming, from thunderingly exciting to painfully dramatic, all the while putting its lead character, Tom, on an emotional roller-coaster in two very different dimensions, in ways that are at times hard to digest. Tom and his ill mother, Catherine, are visiting East London in the modern day to stay with his gran near Smithfield Market. It is an area rich with the sort of history that Tom never ever expected to experience for himself--until he wanders down into his gran's basement and is transported back, somehow, through a "gap" to the 18th century. Here he meets a group of people who are commonly displayed as freaks at the Bartholomew Fair: Machi Twist, the Bendy Man, and the Gorilla Woman. Strangest of all is Astra, a tiny child who Tom is determined to save from her unfortunate circumstances. It is also a time when doctors trade in the sinister acquisition of bodies to experiment on--with Tom's new found "monster" friends all being prime targets. It's exciting stuff, but with very dark overtones indeed. Tom is able to help his friends with their terrible problems but at the same time he faces the realities of his own shattered family life. Ultimately, he learns to look beyond appearances. Follow Me Down is adorned with the kind of prestigious endorsement, in this instance from Philip Pullman no less, that guarantees it a certain level of attention. Between the covers, however, is where it matters and Hearn's writing duly sparkles. Her stimulating novel is sure to stay with the reader long after it has been read. (For ages 12 and over) -- John McLay
Follow me down by Julie Hearn was nominated for the Branford Boase Award in 2004.Follow me down by Julie Hearn has not been rated for age or fabulousness yet on TheBookseekers. There are currently no reviews for this book on this site. Click on the + buttons to include your own ratings!
Follow me down is categorised as fiction. It was written for young readers to enjoy. The subject areas covered by this book include History. The location England are linked with this book.