May 2017 Book of the Month | Winner of the Costa Book Awards, Children's Book category, 2016
Charlie’s life should be pretty miserable: he lives in Little Town, where everyone spies on everyone else, and the population is caught between their oppressive rulers and violent criminals who run the black market. A bombing campaign and invasion by their neighbours in the Old Country makes things even worse. Somehow though Charlie remains positive. He makes friends with Pav, a refugee from the Old Country, and together they turn an old shed into a homely refuge until circumstances leave Charlie owing favours to the terrifying Big Man, and facing an awful choice. Decent, determined and brighter than he makes out, Charlie finds a solution. Charlie’s voice and outlook keep the tone light despite the darkness of setting and subject matter.
Hugely entertaining and highly original. Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon and Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now are more examples of brilliant, thought-provoking dystopian fiction, while After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross offers similar insight into the refugee experience.