A missing father. A drowned town. A buried secret. Three friends on a dangerous mission to uncover the truth.
Seven years after Old Scarborough was drowned, a house is emerging from the water. Will and his friends Dar and Juno dare each other to explore it.
But when they find bones – and a stash of cash – they realise they’re not the only ones interested in its secrets.
Now they’re fighting for their lives against the men who want what they found. Will can’t leave the mystery alone, though. What if the bones belong to his missing dad?
From the bestselling Australian author of Two Wolves, The Fall, Detention and Cop & Robber comes Scar Town, a novel that takes readers on a dangerous journey to uncover the truth in a town that wants the past to stay buried.
Tristan Bancks is known for his high-octane, middle-grade thrillers, and Scar Town is no different. I read Bancks’ novel, Two Wolves, in 2014, was instantly hooked and have been following his writing career since. With a backlist consisting of both YA and kids’ novels, there are plenty of books to dive into once you’re finished with Scar Town.
From the gripping opening scene to the explosive conclusion, Scar Town is a riveting middle-grade novel that delivers action-packed scenes and explores powerful, complex questions about loss, masculinity, friendship and family.
Bancks has an aptitude for evoking strong setting in his novel. The rural town of Scarborough here is almost its own character through the description of its half-submerged house, the cabin and the lake – all which hold compelling symbolic meanings.
Friendship is deeply explored through Will’s relationship with the twins, and their larger group of friends, who test him in many ways. Here, friendship is used as a gateway to look at themes of peer pressure, secrets kept, alliances made, and what blurs the lines between one’s ethics and morals.
Similar to Two Wolves, Scar Town looks at the multifaceted relationship between father and son. In this, we experience loss with Will, and the impact the absence of his father has on him as he navigates the end of his childhood with uncertainty. In a digestible way, Bancks allows readers to think about loss, death and masculinity, topics that are sure to prompt thought-provoking conversations.
Scar Town belongs on every child’s bookshelf and book club, and in every library and classroom. It’s fast-paced and filled with important subject matter that’s sure to keep even the most reluctant readers hooked. We recommend it for readers aged 11+.