Becky's Reviews > The Stranger

The Stranger by Sarah Singleton
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Apr 08, 11

bookshelves: read-for-review
Read from March 22 to 23, 2011, read count: 1

The Stranger is a follow on novel from The Island. It is an exotic and captivating thriller.


Charlotte has been working at the Golden Tiger Reserve since she left the coastal resort of Goa. In the hot Indian outback she is learning much about the problems faced by the local people and the difficulties of protecting the tigers over such a vast area. Charlotte is travelling back to the sanctuary after completing an errand when the train she is on derails. It is a terrifying experience for Charlotte but ever the practical girl; she immediately sets about helping other injured people out of the carriages. There is another European boy – Jack - who she meets on the journey and he is enraptured by the carnage and reality of staring death in the face. Jack is an unnerving and obsessive character and his introduction sets the plot in motion.


I really enjoyed reading Charlotte’s chapters in The Stranger. She is, in my mind, the cement that holds the novel together. Again there are chapters from her two friends Jen and Otto. I liked Otto’s story so much more in this book although I still found Jen a little too strange.


Otto is less of a voyeur in The Stranger. He is much more a man of action. I wasn’t wholly confident in his change of behaviour. I didn’t know if he was going to revert back to his self-centred, lustful ways that dominated his thoughts in The Island. I was cheering on his transformation though which demonstrates Singleton’s power to get the reader involved in the story.


Jen on the other hand was too vague for me. She is a very spiritual character who has visitations from spirits. To be honest, as a rather secular person, I found it hard to suspend my disbelief and thought she was full of a lot of annoying nonsense. That said, she does have a pivotal role in the plot and she certainly didn’t stop me enjoying the story.


The setting is also at the heart of this thriller. Charlotte is being hunted and so are the tigers. Singleton writes such evocative, sensual descriptions of the reserve that it is impossible not to fall in love with it. There is a definite refreshingly different quality about this novel. It is so far removed from other Young Adult fiction.


The Stranger is a thrilling read. At times it deals with sinister themes and the darkest of desires. At other times it explores the nature of friendship and love. The two threads weave together wonderfully to make this a great and unusual read.


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