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Book Review - Scavengers

12th April 2019

Landfill has lived his whole life as a scavenger. Raised within the walls of Hinterland, his paranoid protector, Babagoo, is the only human he's ever known. Old Babagoo has always looked after him, on one condition - follow his rules. NEVER COME LOOKING OUTSIDE. NEVER RISE ABOVE THE WALL.

Landfill's days are packed with adventure and wild abandon, running on all fours with wooflers, swimming with turtles and feasting on fresh gull across the overgrown wasteland that is his home. He knows the importance of staying behind the walls, following Babagoo's incredibly strict rules to ensure his safety from the horrors of the Outside. After all, Babagoo takes it very badly when Landfill lets him down.

Babagoo adores Landfill, and Landfill loves him in return; the two living in precarious harmony in the Eden Babagoo has built. But, despite the dangers, Landfill longs to see Outside and, like any teen, begins to question his guardian's authority. When Landfill persuades Babagoo to take him to the Spit Pit for a foraging lesson, venturing beyond the safety of Hinterland for the first time, Landfill's curiosity gets the better of him. When he dares to peek above the brow of the hill that separates Hinterland from the Outside, danger ensues and Babagoo is furious.

But cracks have started to form in the walls, and Landfill begins to question everything he had previously taken for granted. Why is Babagoo so adamant that Landfall should not venture beyond the walls? What exactly is the 'Hunger's eye' that roars over Hinterland? And why has Babagoo been lying about the mysterious swelling affecting Hinterland's amnals? When crisis hits the Hinterland, Landfill is forced to make a choice...

Both poetic and political, Scavengers is a poignant exploration of the fine line between love and oppression, obedience and control, truth and lies. A contemporary, gritty twist on The Jungle Book, this powerful and moving story makes you question what it truly means to be 'civilised'.

Here's what our Organisers (and our younger readers!) thought about it:

'I think Babagoo is sometimes so horrible to Landfill because he just can't bear the thought of being on his own, as he's so broken inside himself. This book is about life and what we choose to ignore.' Ethan, aged 11

'This is a great discussion book as there are so many themes covered. It's a very observant book about how people view our society and the world we live in, depending on our experiences and expectations. Children very much accept the way things are, but as we grow older we begin to question and wonder "what if..." a lot more. A very original story that leads us to question society's morals and people's rights.' Nicky Powell

'I was struck by several things in this tale: it is a coming-of-age story of how children's natural curiosity leads them to question what they've been told as they begin to build their own understanding of the world. The environmental message is strong, and close study of it will have children questioning their own lifestyles. I was also struck by the idea of parenting in general - how much we let children know, and when - as we often underestimate when they are ready to hear the truths about the world that we might find uncomfortable.' Dionne Lakey

Press Reviews:

'The very best fiction involves creating believable alternative worlds. [...] It's a hugely compassionate, sophisticated novel, about inclusion and exclusion, and who - or what - is really crazy.' - The Observer

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