Creepy, exciting and brilliantly written, 'The Switching Hour' is a fantastic debut children's book by Damaris Young. This is a pacy read, full of menace and beauty; sure to grip even the most reluctant of readers.

Never go out in the night during the Switching Hour. Badeko will snatch your dreams...

Amaya and her little brother Kaleb live at their grandmother's during a devastating drought. They hear stories of people developing the Sorrow Sickness - forgetting loved ones taken by the terrible creature Badeko. But when Kaleb is taken too, Amaya must face her fears and race against time to find and save her brother, before she forgets him too. 

This is a deliciously atmospheric story akin to a disturbing folktale that feels nightmarish but also warm and tender. Young expertly builds tension up and up and up and there were moments that were genuinely terrifying in a way that keeps you reading on and on. The descriptions of the relationship between Amaya and Kaleb are warm and real, and give the story its beating heart. Because of this the threats to Amaya, of losing her memories of her brother, are high, creating one of the most suspenseful books of the year. The pace never lets up. Yet somehow Young captures the beauty of a barren landscape, the fears of childhood, and the courage to keep going through all the menace.

This is a gripping book to read by a blazing fire, snuggled up from the cold, dark winter. But beware: you might end up keeping the lights on in fear of Damaris Young snatching your dreams too.

© 2021 by Chris Soul