Imagine if the ground beneath your feet was riddled with tunnels, home to a predatory and ‘voracious underground hurricane that thinks and feels’ its way to destruction. Heavy stuff. This scenario is visited upon 12-year-old Gran Flowerpetal in this new book from the brilliant Dave Eggers. His first foray into children’s fiction, The Lifters presents us with a spirited and magical adventure, and the ever-popular theme of kids having to take charge and save the day.
…there is a sadness that courses through a house where money is uncertain.
When financial hardship forces Gran’s family to move to the town of Carousel, Gran feels he will never settle in. Hovering on the edge of an indifferent school crowd, nobody appears to even acknowledge his existence. Except for the prickly-tempered Catalina Catalan. The kind of girl who walks ‘bouncing high on the balls of her feet,’ Catalina is a brave combatant in the fight against The Hollows, the sentient tunnelling winds.
Gran’s life is set to become extremely ‘weird and dangerous,’ when he is drawn into her battle to defeat The Hollows, and stop the entire town of Carousel from collapsing in on itself. A fun, pacy read, The Lifters is big hearted and imaginative.
In order to enter the underground tunnels, the kids use magical handles, Catalina’s silver and curved like a sliver of moon, Gran’s the metallic horseshoe from a fairground carousel horse. The town of Carousel was once the foremost maker of fairground carousels in the world, an artisan history that plays its own charming part in the tale.
Very much a book about teamwork and the nature of responsibility, Dave Eggers laces the allegory with humour. The clueless adult world is poked fun at, and we encounter a joyriding wheelchair and the potential dangers of marauding and malevolent moose.
More kids novels please Mr Eggers!
Interested in more Teen/YA books? Have a look at Kirstin’s selection here.
The Lifters by Dave Eggers is published by Scholastic, 320 pages.