Kali Napier's Reviews > Little Gods

Little Gods by Jenny  Ackland
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bookshelves: aww2018

Little Gods is the second novel from Jenny Ackland, and is quite different in form and setting to her The Secret Son. In this novel, 12-y.o. Olive is the protagonist, as she spends a summer at the family's farm, catching snippets of adult conversations ranging from the prosaic and mundane, to mysterious allusions to a 'sister'. When she discovers photos of a red-headed child, Olive becomes determined to find out what happened to her. Olive reminded me of Harriet the Spy, cruising the streets on her pushbike, binoculars swinging around her neck. People, even her cousin Seb, are reluctant to tell her the whole truth, and Olive has to piece together what she thinks happened to her baby sister Aster. When she realises her main suspect, she puts a plan in place, becoming judge, jury and executioner. The Little Gods of the title is a reference to judging others on their deeds, and not who they are.
Olive's family tree is criss-crossed, with wild loops, unlike the linear forms of her classmates'. Her mother and one aunt are married to brothers. And the unmarried aunt Thistle and unmarried uncle Cleg provides her with an extraordinary vocabulary, as well as more practical life lessons.
There are some beautiful words in this coming-of-age story, and though we're not meant to quote directly from ARCs, I must mention "A caged corvid will dement." and hope it remains intact in the final version.
This is a book to sink into, with observations about human nature and the natural world, and meditations on 'truth'.
Thank you to the author, GoodsReads Giveaway and Allen & Unwin for an advanced reading copy.
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Reading Progress

December 15, 2017 – Shelved
December 15, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
February 9, 2018 – Started Reading
February 9, 2018 –
page 99
February 10, 2018 –
page 157
February 11, 2018 –
page 259
February 12, 2018 – Shelved as: aww2018
February 12, 2018 – Finished Reading

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