Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Review: The Night Sky in My Head - Sarah Hammond

The Night Sky in My Head by Sarah Hammond, published by Oxford University Press on 5th July 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
Mikey Baxter isn't like other fourteen year old boys. Not since the accident.

The world sees him as damaged. But Mikey has a remarkable gift: the ability to go backwards in time and witness things that hide in the shadows.

Now he must uncover the terrifying truth behind his dad's disappearance. Before the past starts to repeat itself . .

This is the debut novel of author Sarah Hammond and is described as the perfect read for fans of 'Skellig' and 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time'.  Having not read either of these and not knowing much about about 'The Night Sky in My Head' prior to receiving a copy for review, I was a bit unsure if it was going to be my sort of book.

The story centres on a fourteen year old boy called Mikey who it transpires at the beginning can see events in the past.  He calls this the backwards which sometimes shows him things he would rather not see happen.  He has to unravel the mystery of what happened to his Dad with the help of some of the people he meets along the way.

The passages where he sees the backwards were a little strange at first but as these continue they gradually begin to make more sense.  They are like pieces of a puzzle which just need to be slotted together for them to form a picture of events which have taken place.  This device is extremely clever and helps to move the plot along, whilst presenting to the reader information about Mikey himself and his family. 

He has a close relationship with his mother and it's obvious that she adores him but she's also struggling to cope with some of the things which have happened in the past.  I really liked some of the small details which were dropped in about the fact that she always leaves him little notes when she has to go out and if she wants him to get some shopping then she draws pictures of all the items to buy.  They have both learned to adapt the way they communicate with each other.

I thought that Mikey was a terrific narrator.  He has a very individual way of seeing the world and this is quite different to everyone else.  He is extremely trusting of others which isn't always a good thing because they can take advantage of him without him realising it, but he has so many wonderful qualities which means that he comes across as a truly likeable and lovely person.  By his side throughout the whole book is his dog Timmer and they have a truly special bond between them.  Whenever he's sad or upset or worried then Timmer is there to comfort him and I think that's a very special thing to have.

'The Night Sky in My Head' is an unusual book and unlike anything else I've read.  The writing is intelligent and engaging and although not normally the sort of title I'd pick up in a bookshop, it was extremely enjoyable.  

1 comment:

  1. This is a really lovely review! I'm definitley looking this one up in the near future. But I really really really hope you try The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, this is my review!/2010/11/curious-incident-of-dog-in-night-time.html
    It's good trust me :D


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