The Watching Wood, by Erika McGann, is set in a school for the magical. It is full of shapeshifters and dark fairies. A girl called Grace is the main character. She has to try and get her friends out of this school to where they have been brought. Adie, Delilah (very quiet), Una (not the cleverest), Jenny (always gets into trouble) and Rachel (just loves fashion) are her friends. They had been kidnapped. A girl called Aura tries to help them escape.
They were brought to a school, Tithon Castle, but this isn’t a normal school. They are not taught, instead they must fight in a series of trials. These are often races or relays. If you stumble, or lose concentration, in the middle of one of these fights you could disappear and nobody seems to know where you go. In order to escape, the gang must pay the Ferry Man a sapphire to bring them home. Of course the only place to get the sapphire is in the Head Master’s office.
It wasn’t my favourite book, it didn’t grab me, but I did think that the characters were well described. You really got to know their personalities. I really enjoyed the part where they had the races. I found that bit interesting, especially the bubble races where two from each school race two from another school in big bubbles.
I would recommend this book to readers aged 8 to 10.
Beibhinn (11), Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin, Chloch na gCoillte, Co. Corcaigh