The Dark Light  by Julia  Bell
(Pan Macmillan, 2015)

The Dark Light

by Julia Bell

‘Ten minutes to midnight!’ Jonathan shouts over the sound of the blazing fire. Sparks rise into the sky and mingle with the stars. ‘Only ten minutes!’ Bevins says, falling down on his knees. ‘So it begins.’

Rebekah has spent her childhood on the isolated island of New Canaan where a mix of troubled outcasts wait for the Rapture to bring an end to the world and deliver the believers to heaven. The end is near but a new arrival to the cult sends things into chilling disarray and dangerous factions begin to surface.

Alex has spent her childhood shuffled between foster homes and when she is finally expelled from school after a relationship spirals out of control she is packed off to New Canaan. A non-believer and a rebel she quickly has to learn to adapt and, as the Rapture draws near, to survive.

Thrown together by chance, Rebekah and Alex strike up an unlikely friendship and it’s together that they attempt to break free of their worlds and make something of their own. But when a kiss between the girls is witnessed by an islander there is no escape they can make - the Rapture is coming for them all.

Julia Bell grew up the daughter of Pentecostal Evangelicals, and with events in The Dark Light mirroring her own childhood it makes for an honest, raw coming-of-age tale. The Wickerman for a YA audience - suspenseful and beautifully executed with a fragile love story at its heart.

Reviews

A blend of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and The Wicker Man that is as savage as it is suspenseful. It will entertain resentful teenagers holidaying with their families and their exhausted parents in equally mordant measure.”
- Independent
Intense, punchy thriller with a bleak heart.”
- Guardian