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'The Others' by debut children's author Sarah Merrett is a fantastical and unique historical sci-fi that shoots for the stars. Highly original, this is an adventure story that instantly grabs your attention: strange, celestial and enormously engrossing. A super achievement and a great title to add to Everything with Word's growing catalogue of startlingly different titles for children.


Reuben lives in an observatory with his astronomer grandma who is determined to win the Guzman Prize, a real historical prize for discovering and contacting aliens. But Grandma has a competitor: the evil professor Pinfield. Reuben isn't allowed to leave the observatory but one day he sneaks out and discovers an alien whom he calls Blue...

Sci-fi is a niche genre for children but in recent years there seems to be more titles out there in the genre, which is great to see. 'The Others', though, is special - combining both the fascination of delving into the historical past while dazzling with the fantastic elements of sci-fi. The opening chapters are a tour de force that startles the reader in the strange and cosmic goings-on at an observatory. Here, Reuben's grandma is attempting to contact aliens, and it appears to be successful. The thrill of this plunges the reader in, while Reuben is an unusual, gentle but ultimately brave protagonist with a mysterious past. 

Sarah Merrett's writing is absorbing, bringing to life the realism of the past against the fantasy of the truly cosmic, while evoking the feeling of H.G Wells and early science fiction. I particularly enjoyed the way in which the world, the past, is viewed through alien eyes. There are dangers and twists, wonders and gentleness. And Ewa Beniak-Haremska's densely detailed and dazzling illustrations may draw comparisons to Dave McKean's celebrated drawings in the likes of SF Said's Tyger and Phoenix. There is much to admire in 'The Others'. I'd highly recommend this for Upper Key Stage Two and Key Stage Three readers.

Thank you to Mikka at Everything with Words for sending me a proof copy and inviting me to the blog tour.

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