Thursday, April 28, 2011

The One Left Behind, by Willo Davis Roberts

I found this book at the local library and decided to try it out.

This book, in a nutshell:

Mandy, an eleven-year-old girl whose twin sister has recently died, is left alone in the family house for the weekend. She is initially pleased that she's managed to convince everyone that she's with someone else, but when she hears strange noises the first night, she begins to question whether this was such a good idea after all.
Mandy and her dog Herry investigate the next morning and find a wrecked van in the woods... and then they find more than that... they find a wild adventure the likes of which Mandy has only met in her made-up stories.

I was not wowed by this book - it needed to be longer. The ending was not satisfactory, with a number of things left hanging. Also I got the impression that the book was a jumble of different things all thrown together with a slight lack of cohesion: Mandy's grief, her uncle's mental problems, the boy in the woods and his story...
But then, this book was published posthumously, and I imagine that Ms. Roberts may not have had the chance to do all the revisions she wanted. So I allow slack for that.
It's a simple and well-written tale, though, and the opening chapters are quite good. The descriptions of noises in the night captured exactly what it feels like to be awake and hearing things.

Age rec - eight to fifteen. A sweet book.
Mandy's faith is not discussed often, but there is a mention of God answering prayers that I find quite touchingly written.

I hope to read more of Willo Davis Roberts's books when I can, to see what the others are like. The dustjacket says that this was the 100th book of hers published.

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