The Call
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The Call

Peadar O'Guilin

What if you only had three minutes to save your life and the clock is already counting down. Three minutes: you wake up alone in a horrible land. A horn sounds. You realize youve been Called.

Two minutes: they’re getting closer and despite all your training youre exhausted, you can’t see anywhere to hide.

One minute: youre glad you can run. Nessa can’t, her polio-twisted legs mean she’ll never survive her Call, will she?

Suddenly, a hand grabs your wrist and its more painful than anything you have ever experienced before in your life…

Times up. Could you survive The Call?

Review

It is incredibly exciting to get your hands on a book that you know within the first few pages is going to be talked about by the global YA community and beyond. The Call is just such a book.

Nessa is at a training college in an alternate contemporary Ireland in preparation for ‘The Call’  – an event that will happen to every single teenager with no exception. At some unknown moment after puberty, they will disappear, the clothes left behind the only indicator they are gone. They will reappear in an alternate world, the Grey Lands, where they will be hunted for sport by the fairy folk for 24 hours. This time represents only three minutes in the real world. When they return, most are dead, but some are still living and horribly transformed in both body and mind.

Nessa is at more of a disadvantage than most kids – she had polio and cannot run without a limp. But she is determined to survive and won’t allow anyone to pity her. She also strives to have no emotions or attachments whatsoever, although she clearly fancies Anto. What happens to Nessa, Anto, their friends and enemies before and during The Call is absolutely compelling reading that is already bringing worthy comparisons to The Hunger Games.

I loved the life or death narrative, the flawed but incredibly determined Nessa, and the play on classic Irish mythology, where humans had signed a treaty with the fairy folk hundreds of years ago which had banished the fairies to another land, at a terrible cost.

I was so immersed in this battle between fairy and human that everything else needed to be put off until I had finished reading. I strongly recommend you get your hands on The Call as soon as you possibly can, put your phone on silent and hole up in a quiet room for a few hours to devour it. You will not be disappointed!


Angela Crocombe is the Children’s Book Buyer at Readings Carlton.

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