Sophie Kirtley’s 2020 debut, The Wild Way Home, was a brilliant adventure story in which two children, one from the past and one from the present, found themselves inexplicably together. I began reading The Way to Impossible Island with high hopes of another exciting time-slip adventure.
Twelve-year-old Dara is finally getting the heart operation that will change his life. Freedom will finally be his and he will be able to go on the adventures that he has read about, maybe even find the legendary Golden Hare. But when the call comes that the operation will need to be delayed, Dara snaps and runs away and that’s when he meets Mothgirl. Dressed in animal skin and accompanied by a wolf, Mothgirl seems impossible and Dara cannot believe his eyes. What is a girl from the Stone Age doing in his life? And what is she seeking on Lathrin Island? Together they head out on a wild and windswept journey of self-discovery but will they both find what they are looking for…
Kirtley delivers another cracking time-slip adventure that readers of the first book will absolutely revel in. That is not to say that you need to have read the first book to enjoy this one, whilst some references and links are made to The Wild Way Home, it can easily be enjoyed as a stand-alone. Beautiful story-telling, exciting action, characters to root for and a narrative that quickly draws you in and doesn’t let you out until the last word will have readers racing through the pages. With short and pacy chapters, that tell the story through the eyes of both characters, you’ll always have the desire to to read just one more - this desire never left me and I had to read it all at once.
I love the whole idea of meeting someone from a completely different historical period and Kirtley cleverly intertwines the lives of Dara and Mothgirl. In what seems like the most unlikeliest and impossible of friendships, a wonderful bond develops as the characters, driven by their own self-belief and fierce determination, learn to trust, protect one another and realise that together there is no obstacle that they cannot overcome. United by their frustrations and both running away from real dangers - Dara from his heart problems, Mothgirl from the prospect of being traded to a rival clan-leader in exchange for supplies and the promise to find a lost family member - their exhilarating and life-affirming adventure pushes both of them to their absolute limits as they face up to the realities of life, learn to accept who they are and truly understand the importance of family.
This is a great book to read for any children learning about the Stone Age or who just want to know more about this important period in history. And let’s be honest, it would be pretty cool to come face to face with someone from the past and I’m sure children will love meeting Mothgirl and learning more about her very different life.
With huge thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing for this action-packed story.
Recommended for 9+.