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3.72  ·  Rating details ·  273 ratings  ·  25 reviews
There were three people, standing in the darkest place, watching him.

Simon is outraged that his Mum plans to remarry. He can't bear her new fiancé or the way his mother and sister seem to have forgotten his late father. Overwhelmed by hatred and anger he seeks solace in a nearby abandoned water mill. But another, powerful hatred lingers within its walls. And it is about to
Paperback, 260 pages
Published July 7th 2005 by Definitions (Young Adult) (first published 1981)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  273 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Rebecca McNutt

The Scarecrows is creepy, but behind it all there's a moral about anger, frustration and how you should face it rather than run away from it. The main character's eerie adventure as he holes up in an abandoned mill is easy for readers to relate to. Everyone has something that they want to run away from, whether it's in-laws, the loss of a loved one, being fired from a job - in the main character's case, it's his mother's remarriage to a man he hardly knows. But running away from his troubles
Samantha-Ellen Bound
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: c-classic
The Scarecrows was first published in 1981 – it’s more of a recent children’s classic, but rightly so, because it’s one of the best contemporary children’s novels I’ve read. I say contemporary even though The Scarecrows does have elements of horror and the supernatural – but these things arise out of the main character’s psychological trauma. The way Westall does this is seamless and powerful. Some of the content is quite daring – a few of the passages would not make the final edit these days, I ...more
Christopher Peter
I don't think I have a favourite book of all time, but if I did then I'd have to say The Scarecrows. I first read it when I was thirteen - the same age as the central character Simon Wood - and it had a lasting effect on me. I recently re-read it and found it just as compelling as an adult. Robert Westall (and this book in particular) is in fact the main reason why my own first two books are in this same genre, i.e. young adult ghost stories, and with some similar themes. He has been a major ...more
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Robert Westall is a genius. SCARECROWS is a chilling book, brilliantly written. Simon is struggling to come to terms with himself and the changes in his family. When he goes to stay with his mother and her new boyfriend, he discovers a creaking old mill with a dark past.

This is a terrifying book without any gore or cheap scare tactics. The building of the tension is deliciously unbearable and the ending will keep bouncing around in your head long after you finish reading it. Whenever I had to
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this as a child, and loved it today. On the surface, this is still the cracking ghost story I remember and it is still just as chilling. At eleven I remember being too scared to turn off the light and the same bloody thing happened last night over twenty years later! There is quite a lot going on in this short children's novel and some of the more adult themes (and there are a fair few) probably went over my head when I first read it . The characters are quite complex and the hero of the ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another classic from Robert Westall, but a lot more savage and scary than the Machinegunners; amongst other things, he brilliantly captures the nastiness of the relentless teenage bully. Some of the mo-holds-barred content surprised me ... for a book published in 1981.
Another re-read from my childhood. I used to love Robert Westall as a child, and reading his novels as an adult I have come to the conclusion that none of his appeal has been lost. I still find this book delightfully creepy but as an adult I absolutely hated the whining and selfish attitude of the protagonist, Simon. I probably loved him as a child though.
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this to see what Molly was talking about. Teen horror.
Jean Kirby
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very scary and realistic story by a great author...not for the faint-hearted!
Brian Sanders
Style over plot/structure...

I suspect this book won its laurels from its voice, which (at its best moments) recalls the adolescent angst of The Catcher in the Rye. The characters are all very well fleshed-out, but I was left disliking the protagonist who suffers from a roaring Oedipus Complex. His hatred of his mom's new husband might have been more understandable had this gentleman been wicked or contemptible. Instead, he is one of the most sympathetic characters of the bunch -- a chubby
Sue Robinson
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books
Sourced a copy of this specific edition on the interweb to read as part of my research into a historic link with my village. Westall spotted the scarecrows protecting a local man's turnip patch as he passed through our village in the 1960s. The author turned around and went back to study them in detail and to take a photograph. In a later letter to the scarecrow-maker he congratulated him and explained how much he treasured the photograph as he had never seen such lifelike scarecrows before, and ...more
Trevor Kew
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kew-f
I read this as a possible novel to teach to middle school and it just wasn't the right fit. The language seemed a bit dated (I know that this is set in post-war England, but still...) and the plot just seemed to go in circles until the very (very) unsatisfying conclusion. I did enjoy the characterisation of Joe Moreton, I must say, but even he became a bit too much in the end. The whole novel seemed a bit disjointed overall, with the Scarecrows plot coming in quite late in the story and having ...more
David Gourlay
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic fast paced book about facing your fears and an intriguing supernatural twist.

Good book for teenagers..

I felt like there could have been s bit more story around Simons 'devils' etc and it was also over quickly at the end. The story leaves you on such a high I was unable to go to sleep straight after and it was 3am!
Andy Verschoyle
High quality scary psychodrama.
May 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who like slow-paced scary & suspense stories
I don't know what to think. The plot was great but a bit too dark. Here are my mixed feelings about this book.

- Excessive use of bloody (why???)
- The plot did not evolve until the last 100 pages, which was a MAJOR setback
- The scarecrows don't appear till the last 100 pages as well... doesn't make a lot of sense, sorry though
- Lots of mystery in the background... why this and why that and why those and why these

Question time!

(view spoiler)
Andrew Grewcock
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another reread of a childhood tale. This one was part of a series called Puffin Plus, which I think were marketed as what would now be YA. I remember the original cover being quite a lurid painting of Simon in amongst the scarecrows, which was a little on the nose. The story itself manages to combine a child's eye view of family and step-parenthood with the notion of restless, historical ghosts. I read a few other Westall books, which I remember being pretty good, but this one always stuck with ...more
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not sure what made me pick up this book, I must have just liked the look of the cover. At times is was really creepy, but at other times it was a bit confusing. Overall though I did really enjoy it which is why it got 4 stars rather than just 3. If ever passing a group of old style scarecrows in fields I will definitely be creeped out but luckily I live in the city so we don't have fields that would have any scarecrows in them.
Sep 05, 2009 rated it liked it

มันเปนวรรณกรรมเยาวชนจริงๆเหรอ ? (สำนักพิมพรีวิวไววางัน)
เปิดเรืองมาบรรยากาศกเครียดแลว ยิงอานไปหลังๆ...เฮย..นีมันสยองขวัญละปาวหวา

หรือวา วรรณกรรมเยาชน = หนังสือทีมีเดกเปนตัวเอก

ชอบสำนวนแปลของคุณสาลินี คำฉันท จัง

ปล. ปกของใน goodread อันนีดูหลอนดี
ปล.2 ชอบหนังสือเลมขนาดเทานีจัง เลกพกพาสะดวก
Konstantin R.
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-adore
[rating = A-]
Fabulous. A very fast-pace and exciting book. Not to mention, surprisingly, well-written. A boy, Simon, comes to a Mill House with his new step-dad and tensions are higher than the deep blue sky. With the forces of evil closing in (a trio of scarecrows) and the arrival of an old friend things are on an all-high intense-level. Just a...WOW.
Dec 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
I couldn't get into this book at all - I couldn't finish it.
Apr 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult-lit
Good, but hella scary, from what I recall - I usually block out scary books.
Jun 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up in a charity shop, it had come from a Catholic school. I was surprised that the content would be thought suitable. Ghosts and strongly adolescents are a bad influence?
Molly Bristol
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chilling, creepy, malicious, with a dash of family trouble on the side.
Mar 07, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I came away uncertain whether this was fantasy or psychological drama. I thought is was the latter but the ending confused me.
Ryan Ward
rated it liked it
Jan 28, 2020
John Richardson
rated it it was amazing
Feb 21, 2016
Emily May
rated it liked it
Dec 09, 2010
rated it liked it
Aug 30, 2012
Clare Greenup
rated it liked it
Jun 16, 2019
Jo Ullah
rated it it was amazing
Dec 08, 2019
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.

Robert Westall was born in North Shields, Northumberland, England in 1929.

His first published book The Machine Gunners (1975) which won him the Carnegie Medal is set in World War Two when a group of children living on Tyneside retrieve a machine-gun from a crashed German aircraft. He won the Carnegie Medal again
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