The Children of Castle Rock

Natasha Farrant

Faber & Faber

June 2018

$14.99 AU

310p pb

ISBN: 978-0571323562

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The Children of Castle Rock by Natasha Farrant follows the imaginative Alice Mistlethwaite and her adventures. When she is enrolled in a boarding school she becomes friends with the most unlikely sorts of people. The mystery begins when her dad sends her a mysterious letter and doesn’t show up to Visitor’s Day. Alice’s adventure ensues as she ventures around the Scottish mountains with her two friends.

I enjoyed this book because of the friendship and the light humour. It has some difficult words which are usually explained or can be easily figured out. I would recommend it for readers aged 9+ because some of the themes (money, theft, etc.) may be a bit confusing for younger readers. Readers who like Enid Blyton novels might like this book because of the independence of the children, mystery, friendship, and adventures.

Niamh, age 12

The Children of Castle Rock by Natasha Farrant is an adventure-fiction novel that follows the life of a young girl named Alice. Alice is a quiet and reserved girl who loves making up stories. Her mother is dead, and her father is never in the country, so she finds herself living with her aunt and uncle. Alice has to leave her family home forever and travels to a remote boarding school against her will. Out of the blue, Alice’s father randomly contacts her and asks to meet her somewhere in the middle of the Scottish countryside. She and her friends, Jesse and Fergus, travel alone to go meet Alice’s long-lost father.

The Children of Castle Rock is a novel that would probably appeal most to children from 10 to 13 years of age and/or to fans of authors like Enid Blyton and boarding school adventure novels. The book addresses such themes as making friends, change, and family loss. The characters, specifically Alice’s friends, are fun and quirky, although personally I find Alice à bit hard to relate to. She reminds me a bit of Jo from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, but with less of a personality. The story is well written, and I especially like the descriptions of the houses and the countryside, which are beautiful. There can be some plot holes, however, and some aspects, especially the school and its system, I felt need further explanation.

Annabelle, age 14

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