Genre: Mystery/Contemporary Age Range: MG Star Rating: 4 stars Series: Standalone
Flick’s big brother, Jack, goes missing in Peru and she is desperate to find him. But can she solve the greatest mystery of all: who Jack really is?
Twelve-year-old Flick adores Jack and loves solving puzzles with him. But Jack is soon to flee the family nest and Flick worries she’ll lose her partner in crime. Dad wants Jack to take his future more seriously, but Flick doesn’t want her prankster brother ever to change. During his gap year in Peru, tragedy strikes when an earthquake devastates the region and no one knows what has happened to Jack. Flick and her family are thrown into the horrible unknown.
Soon afterwards, she is bewildered to find a key on a fine gold chain and a note with the initials SF in his room and clings to the hope that SF (whoever that is) might hold the clue to finding her brother. When she sets out to uncover the identity of its owner, she meets new friends, rekindles a special relationship and discovers a whole new side to Jack. Intriguing clues from a legend about Inca gold, to a key with magical powers, help her along the way.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here or read my review here.
About the Author:
Ewa Jozefkowicz grew up in Ealing, and studied English Literature at UCL. She currently works in marketing, and lives in Highbury, north London with her husband and twin girls.
The daughter of a bookseller, she has always been a lover of children’s books and has dreamed of publishing her own. She wrote her first book aged 5 (meticulously self-illustrated with felt tip pen) and twenty five years later achieved her dream of being a published children’s author with ‘The Mystery of The Colour Thief’. She is fascinated by stories about friendship and growing up.
Find her on her website, on twitter, or on Instagram.
As someone who took a gap year, I was immediately drawn to this book. I often wondered what my sister thought of me being away – and what would happen if something happened to me (I was in a very geologically active area and one of the first things I had to do was go through earthquake drills). Luckily, I only experienced (slept!) through moderate shakes, but it was something I’d been very aware of when choosing where I was going to spend my time.
So I was really curious why Ewa chose Peru as the location for Jack’s gap year – and leapt at the chance to ask her about it. This is what she had to say:
Peru is the country in which Jack disappears during an earthquake. He’s supposed to be travelling from Cusco (near the famous Machu Picchu), back to the capital Lima to meet one of his friends, but he has a last minute change of plan. He’s about to inform his family and friends about his new location when the earthquake hits – sadly, nobody knows where exactly they should be looking for him.
I selected Peru because it’s such a wonderfully diverse country, both culturally and geographically. It is situated along the boundary of two tectonic plates: the Nazca Plate and the South American Plate. The interface between these two plates is located near the Peruvian coast, and causes fairly regular earthquakes. When I was there back in 2016, I experienced a small one – nothing more than a very brief shaking of the ground. But every few years or so, there are earthquakes which devastate the surrounding area, destroying buildings and taking lives.
At the same time, Peru is a country filled with warm and welcoming people. Peruvian culture is a beautiful mix of Hispanic and native traditions. The Quechua and the Aymara are the two main native cultures of Peru, both of whom speak their native languages. Many of the locals I met during my travels were keen to talk about their families, their traditions and their food. I noticed that there was a strong focus on family values, and that the elderly in society had a special standing.
Over the past couple of decades Peru has been undergoing rapid aging, with the proportion of the population over the age of 60 projected to rise by more than 10% over the next thirty years. With this in mind, there have been a lot of innovative approaches to care for the elderly – and, in my story, Jack has found volunteer work in a modern care home trialling a new approach.
I hope that readers enjoy Jack’s story. Perhaps it might even encourage some of them to visit Peru in the future and experience it for themselves!
Peru is certainly on my bucket-list! Thank you so much for answering my question, Ewa!