Thursday, May 1, 2014

"The One Safe Place"

Tania Unsworth is a British writer living in Boston. She is the author of two books for adults published in the UK. The One Safe Place is her first book for children.

Unsworth applied the Page 69 Test to The One Safe Place and reported the following:
I feel a bit of a cheat because The One Safe Place was published in both the UK and the US at almost the same time and page 69 falls in a slightly different place in each edition. But I’m going to go with UK page 69 because it marks a sinister turn of events in the story. Devin and Kit, homeless children in a climate-change devastated near future have found their way to The Gabriel H Penn Home for Childhood. On first inspection, the Home seems like paradise, with food in plenty and entertainments around every corner. But as they are being shown around by a kid called Luke, it begins to dawn on Devin that all is not as it seems.
“A narrow path wound between low trees. Their trunks were curled and knotted like clumps of writhing snakes. “Where does this go to?”

Luke hesitated. His twitching face was suddenly quite still. “We don’t need to got down there,” he said quickly. “I’ve got to take you to the recreation hall.” And he nudged them away down another path.”

Although the recreation hall looks like fun, Devin can’t help noticing that none of the other kids are actually playing with any of the toys. They’re just standing around listlessly. Then he notices something else.

“As they turned to leave, Devin halted suddenly. He had the strangest sensation of being watched. He looked around but the room was empty. There was a window set up high on the far wall. It didn’t face the outside and he could see nothing through it, only the briefest impression of a shadow behind the glass. The shadow moved and was gone.”
Turn the page, and you discover that Devin is right. The watchers are the Visitors, very old, very rich and weirdly fascinated by the children. It’s the first big indication that the Home is far from paradise and that terrible things lie in store for every child that passes through its gates…
Visit Tania Unsworth's website.

--Marshal Zeringue