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Lara, Larkmead Secondary School

The Stars at Oktober Bend

This book is about a girl called Alice who was abused and raped by two boys at the age of 12. After the attack, she is left at the age of 12 forever standing still. Her attackers gave her a serious head injury. She now has a crazy brain, in her words ‘crazy wiring’ and messed up speech. When the attack happens, her grandfather tries to help but gets arrested for shooting one of the boys – he is sent to prison so it is difficult for Alice to see him. Alice’s father died when she was young and her mother had run away so she is left with her nan and her brother who have to care for her . Alice’s brother is only 14 and has to work to look after her and her nan.

The author chose to put Alice’s speech all in lower case. I thought this may be to show that she was only 12 in her mind. However, I didn’t like this and found it annoying.

Alice meets a boy called Manny. He had come to Alice’s country after soldiers took his home and killed his mother and sister. Where Manny is from, girls were not seen as equal. The soldiers told his sister to tell him where his mother was and when she wouldn’t, they cut out her tongue and killed her. Manny had escaped and run away to Germany and was found by a tourist.

Manny feels guilt for not saving his sister and his mum. Manny falls in love with Alice but she cannot return his feelings as much as she is stuck at 12. He understands Alice through her poetry which she puts her heart into.

The author didn’t tell me until the end of the book that Alice had been raped. I thought throughout the book , she had just been attacked. When I found that out, I was shocked. I felt I could handle it but I felt that some other people my age would find it difficult to read.

My favourite character was Alice because unlike most of the characters in the book she wasn’t perfect. I thought Manny was ‘perfect’ – he was handsome and a nice person. He was only young when the attack happened on his family, so it really wasn’t his fault that his mum and sister were killed.

I also thought that the writer did sad scenes particularly well.
I would recommend this book to 13+ because it was a powerful book with adult references.

Posted on: 6th June 2017 at 08:19 pm

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