FICTION

The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away

224p. HMH. Feb. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781328841605.
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Gr 5–7—Twelve-year-old Simon has a wild imagination: he loves playing video games and reading fantasy novels and is even writing his own book about fairies and a talking dog. When he isn't occupied with those things, he obsesses over aliens. On a camping trip with his parents, Simon loses consciousness; upon waking, he is convinced he has been abducted. But when he tells his parents, his mother is fretful and his father is derisive. Simon is afraid, but determined to find out if the aliens are real. Despite having moved frequently throughout the years, Simon has led a sheltered life. He has few friends, is nervous about leaving the Air Base where he currently lives, and is bullied at school. Parallels between Simon and the main character of the book he is writing further call into question the reality of Simon's experience, leaving readers to wonder about what really happened on that camping trip until the very end.
VERDICT An eerie and layered tale with a main character to which young readers will relate, but with a less than satisfactory ending that may spoil the overall effect for some.

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