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Raven Summer by David Almond

Raven Summer

by David Almond

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1741268,238 (3.57)21

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this a lot. Much more than some of his more recent books. In a way the most interesting character is Natrass. The book is pretty comfortable and comforting despite dealing with some uncomfortable situations mainly because you see through the eyes of Liam - but I could imagine stepping right out of that comfort zone by putting Natrass at the centre of the book. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jun 17, 2014 |
While Kirkus Reviews says Raven Summer is for ages 14 and up, I tend to agree with School Library Journal's assessment of 7th-9th grade. Almond develops Liam's character through his daily life experiences in Northumberland. A typical boy who pals around with buddy Max, isn't quite into girls and still longs to play war games and find secret hideouts. While Liam is 14, he isn't all that interested in moving forward in the next stage of growing up. Liam and Max are led by a black raven to an abandon baby. The discovery of Alison leads Liam to an introduction of characters that allow him to recognize the monster/angel in everyone and that the choice to become either is his. Henry Meadows (aka Oliver throughout most of the book) and Crystal are foster children in the home Alison is placed in after Liam and Max find her. The teenagers are fascinated with each other- especially Crystal with Liam. She believes they will meet again and they do. Once Liam's family becomes a foster family with the sole purpose to care for Alison, Oliver and Crystal cross paths with Liam. Liam is fascinated by O liver's stories about escaping his homeland and coming to a safe country to live, but he is very fearful he will be sent back and be put to death. Crystal says they won't let this happen; they will run before they allow Oliver to be sent back. Eventually, Oliver and Crystal do run away, and they call on Liam to help hide them. Liam's boyhood fantasy comes true and he lives out what he and Max had planned they would do if war came to their homeland. Spoiling the fantasy is Nattrass, the town troublemaker, who is continually trying to push the limit with threats of violence. Faced with a decision- unleashing the monster within or restraining himself, Liam learns even he is capable of evil. A book with a strong message, especially to boys, that it takes control and strength to do what is right. Almond uses Liam's family, friends and enemy to raise questions about war, friendship, family, human nature, etc. to entertain YA readers. ( )
  kdangleis | Oct 10, 2010 |
Reviewed by Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen for TeensReadToo.com

One discovery, one event, can change your life forever. For Liam, it was following a raven, which would ultimately lead him into one of the darkest summers he would ever experience.

With the raven came the discovery of a little baby, abandoned with just a note labeling her as "a childe of God," and a jar of money. Liam and his friend, Max, take turns carrying the baby on the way back to Liam's house, knowing that this lovely-smelling baby will need milk, clothes, a family. Without an appearance of the baby's parents, she is quickly taken to a foster family, where Liam meets Crystal and Oliver.

RAVEN SUMMER continues with the introduction and Liam's encounters with characters that have had dark experiences or are experiencing dark thoughts.

There is the foster child, Oliver, a refugee from Liberia, who fled after his parents were murdered and before he could do any harm to others. His dark past and what he was dangerously taught still haunts him, as his scar is a blatant reminder of what his life was like before experiencing a "safer" world.

Then there is Gordon Nattrass, a friend of Liam's whose mind turns to the dark as he enjoys the actions of beheading, torturing, and bullying animals - and some humans. Liam himself can't help but think of violent images of war, as all around him are wars between countries and even somewhat between his friends.

RAVEN SUMMER is a dark, compelling, and intriguing novel with complex and sometimes even frightening thoughts. It strongly expresses the evil and violence that encompass the world through the minds and eyes of all ages. The novel concludes by connecting the lives of the younger cast of characters with a climatic ending, including a game turned awry. This is a novel that one must experience firsthand in order to truly understand what a classic it will be one day. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 4, 2010 |
This was a darkly disturbing book, which is what Almond's books tend to be. This is a story of two friends who find a baby. Finding the baby is the lightest part of the book, town bullies, knives, fights in holes dug in the ground, a young liberian foster child, a run away foster girl are a mix of the characters.

This is not your typical coming of age tale. While it was powerful and the writing was creative, I really cannot recommend it. Maybe I was in the mood for something lighter and thus my opinions are shaped because of that. ( )
  Whisper1 | May 14, 2010 |
This book didn't achieve for me what it intended to do. Liam and a friend find an abandoned baby, who gets put in foster care with two teenagers, Crystal and Oliver. They make an immediate intense connection with Liam, and so when they ultimately run away they turn to Liam for help. An old friend of Liam's, Nattrass, who's become bad and loves violence pushes his way in to incite something exciting and dangerous. None of the characters connected with me and I felt very disoriented trying to understand all of their interpersonal relationships and motivations. ( )
  ChristianR | Apr 7, 2010 |
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US title : Raven summer ; UK title : Jackdaw summer
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385738064, Hardcover)

A captivating new novel from Printz Award winner David Almond.

Liam and his friend Max are playing in their neighborhood when the call of a bird leads them out into a field beyond their town. There, they find a baby lying alone atop a pile of stones—with a note pinned to her clothing. Mystified, Liam brings the baby home to his parents. They agree to take her in, but police searches turn up no sign of the baby’s parents. Finally they must surrender the baby to a foster family, who name her Allison. Visiting her in Northumberland, Liam meets Oliver, a foster son from Liberia who claims to be a refugee from the war there, and Crystal, a foster daughter. When Liam’s parents decide to adopt Allison, Crystal and Oliver are invited to her christening. There, Oliver tells Liam about how he will be slaughtered if he is sent back to Liberia. The next time Liam sees Crystal, it is when she and Oliver have run away from their foster homes, desperate to keep Oliver from being sent back to Liberia. In a cave where the two are hiding, Liam learns the truth behind Oliver’s dark past—and is forced to ponder what all children are capable of.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:26 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Led to an abandoned baby by a raven, fourteen-year-old Liam seems fated to meet two foster children who have experienced the world's violence in very different ways as he struggles to understand war, family problems, and friends who grow apart.

» see all 3 descriptions

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