Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Peadar O'Guilin
For years, the people of Ireland have been cut off from the rest of the world. Thousands of years after they were banished by the Irish to the colorless netherworld, the Sidhe have returned with the intent to destroy the people who exiled them. Every Irish child will face the Call—disappearing from the human world and appearing in the land of the Sidhe—for three minutes and four seconds, but twenty-four hours in the Sidhe land. Few return alive, and those who do are tortured and distorted beyond recognition. Nessa, a teenager with polio-twisted legs, is determined to survive. She knows she is likely to die, but she trains harder than anyone to be faster and stronger. She has friends, enemies, and even a crush, but she tries not to connect with people and let emotions get in the way of survival. When she is finally called, Nessa must rely on her strength, her wits, and her heart to escape Sidhe torture and return to protect and defend her homeland.
The Call is a grim, terrifying, gut-wrenching, and unique dystopian novel. The book is written in the present tense, which can be distracting at first, but as the book unfolds, it only adds to the lyrical, unsettling feeling of it all. The pace of the story is slow but action-packed and thrilling, and its unique and twisted vision of Irish mythology is gripping and impressive. Fans of The Hunger Games and Stranger Things will love this tense and gruesome horror story that is surprisingly filled with hope and love. The utterly compelling depiction of a dynamic, three-dimensional, and partially disabled heroine inspires readers to root for Nessa, who refuses pity and stubbornly prepares to win her survival. The underlying theme of the book compels readers to question what it means to be guilty or innocent, and how we determine who is responsible for the causes and costs of conflict. The Call is a brilliant, haunting, chillingly strange book which provides metaphors for readers to question the human condition.
*Contains moderate violence, mild language, and mild sexual content.