Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Swamplandia!

Karen Russell

Abandoned and struggling to cope with the death of her mother, star of the crumbling Bigtree alligator wrestling dynasty, plucky 12 year old Ava sets off on an odyssey through the swampland underworld with the sinister Birdman - how else is she to stop her sister eloping with a ghost? Eerie images of scaly gators and murky depths sent shivers racing down my spine - but brace yourself for an altogether darker journey to the edge of reality.

Extract

'That was really something, kid. You say you learned that from your mother?'
'Yup.' I smiled happily and squeezed my toes against the pool ledge, feeling suddenly shy. I got dizzy looking into the pure whites of his eyes. The alligators slid through the murk beyond the railing: lamplight opened there in soft petals between the black water and the alligators' sand mounds. I switched the lights off; I knelt and checked the temperature of the Pit water with one finger. Then I led my new friend to our house.

Parallels
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • The Great Perhaps by Jo Meno
  • Holes by Louis Sachar