Canongate, 12.99, pp240
Survival is all for two half-sisters, 13-year-old Sal and 10-year-old Peppa, who escape from a violent home in a small town near Glasgow and move to the wilderness of Scotland. The atmospheric story opens just before dawn and, in Sal’s distinctive voice, details their day-to-day efforts to find food, shelter and warmth using information gleaned from YouTube videos, the SAS handbook and an Ordnance Survey map. There are traumatic memories, too – of beatings and bruises, threats of the sisters being separated by social services, and how Sal killed her abusive stepfather before the two girls fled. A vivid, moving tale about the strength of sisterhood and the struggle to survive.Continue reading...