Floodland by Marcus Sedgwick
Imagine that England is covered by water, and Norwich is an island …
Zoe, left behind in the confusion when her parents escaped, survives there as best she can. Alone and desperate among marauding gangs, she manages to dig a derelict boat out of the mud and gets away to Eels Island. But Eels Island, whose raggle-taggle inhabitants are dominated by the strange boy Dooby, is full of danger too.
Marcus Sedgwick has managed to create a challenging novel for young adults that really makes you wonder about the possible disastrous effects of global warming. We have seen it all before in films such as The Day After Tomorrow and 2011 but never have I read book that has made it feel as though this really could happen! The ice caps are melting as I write, and in a matter of years, England as know it really could be under water. I loved the way Sedgwick just captured your attention from the very beginning with the fact that the disaster has already happened – this is not another ‘disaster’ book/film – which often end just as the people are starting to come to terms with their new way of life. Now England is split up into ‘islands’ – the only parts of the land that have stayed above the rising sea levels. There is no way of knowing what else or who else is out there.
Zoe is a fascinating character – she is a strong, independent and can most definitely take care of herself. Her parents are somehow taken away on a ship without her – forcing her to struggle to survive by herself. I found myself asking the same gut-wrenching questions as Zoe – why did they not come back for her? But hope is never lost, it can never be lost, and so begins her quest to find them!
When Zoe lands on Eels Island and meets a whole host of creepy, quirky characters of whom the leader is named Dooby, there was something that reminded me instantly of Lord of the Flies – a group of young children having to fend for themselves without parents or adults. Dooby has become the leader of the island and he is certainly a formidable character but one whom you soon realise, is just like all the other children without parents – alone, scared and thinking of himself because after all, what else can you do?
Marcus Sedgwick has definitely become one of the best modern teen fiction writers of this generation. I have only ever read Revolver which again is a fantastic read, but it was great to go back and read Floodland, his debut novel. Floodland won the Branford Boase Award in 2001 and is definitely a though-provoking creepy, but original novel, and at just over 100 pages long you will easily become gripped enough by it to read it in one whole sitting! Highly recommended not only for those looking for a scary story, but for anyone who is curious about the way global warming could really effect our entire world.
Coming soon – I will be reviewing Marcus Sedgwick’s latest novel White Crow so be sure to look out for it!
- White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick – review (guardian.co.uk)
- Booktrust teenage prize shortlist spans time, space and genre (guardian.co.uk)