Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Night Sky In My Head - M's review

The Night Sky In My Head by Sarah Hammond

The Night Sky in My Head is a bit of a crime story mixed in with a bit of bildungsroman (coming-of-age story – which usually means when you become a teenager or an adult) and elements of fantasy.
The Night Sky In My Head - Sarah Hammond
Mikey is fourteen and has a big scar down the back of his head. Since the accident that caused this scar, shadows come alive for Mikey. Now, he can see into the Backwards (which is the past) but he also goes to a special school now. He gets on really well with animals and he has a wonderful best friend who you meet in the first few pages of the book.

The Night Sky In My Head is about Mikey piecing together bits of story from what he sees in the Backwards. It’s rather frightening for him because his dad’s in prison, there’s been a murder, another crime’s been committed and there might be more to come. Who’s done what and will they do it again?

Crimes are committed and there is danger in the story. It’s definitely a bit frightening in parts but overall it’s a gentle story that explores what a ‘good un’ is and what a ‘bad un’ is. Is Mikey good or bad? Is – or was - his dad? And his new mates?

Not everyone in the story believes Mikey about the Backwards. Some of them think he is a bit ‘backwards’ because he speaks and moves more slowly than he used to and he needs help understanding writing. I was a bit confused about how the Backwards happened and why and could it really happen in ‘real’ life. So, while this is a fictional story about things that do happen in real people’s lives, there might be an element of fantasy in it too. Either way, Sarah Hammond (the author) gives you more information about the Backwards at the end of the story. But don’t read it first because it will spoil the story.

This is also a bit of a bildungsroman (coming-of-age story). Mikey’s fourteen and is starting to notice the way that other people treat him, he’s starting to ask questions about his dad when he didn’t really before, he’s trying to make new friends and there’s a girl.

The Night Sky in My Head is a lovely story. It has parallels with Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time but The Night Sky In My Head is told more softly and will appeal to younger readers. Animal lovers will likely enjoy this novel. 

Publication details: Oxford University Press, July 2012, Oxford, paperback

This copy: received for review from the publishers

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