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Buy for $19.95
Finalist 2018 American Book Fest Best Book Awards: Cross Genre Fiction
The very last thing 17-year-old Emmott Syddall wants is to turn out like her dad. She’s descended from 10 generations who never left their dull English village, and there’s no way she’s going to waste a perfectly good life that way. She’s moving to London and she swears she is never coming back.
But when the unexplained deaths of her neighbors force the government to quarantine the village, Em learns what it truly means to be trapped. Now, she must choose. Will she pursue her desire for freedom, at all costs, or do what’s best for the people she loves: her dad, her best friend Deb, and, to her surprise, the mysterious man in the HAZMAT suit?
Inspired by the historical story of the plague village of Eyam, this contemporary tale of friendship, community, and impossible love weaves the horrors of recent news headlines with the intimate details of how it feels to become an adult - and fall in love - in the midst of tragedy.
What listeners say about The Smallest ThingAverage Customer Ratings
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- Travelling Girl
Dramatic, breathless delivery of a story of contagion
The eighteen year old heroine of this story is both largely credible as an unhappy, self-absorbed teenager and irritating in her over-dramatic, breathless delivery of her first person narrative. A take off dangerous contagion, responded to officially by fear and lockdown restrictions is all too credible. The speed with which events unfold over less than two months is not.
The story is set in rural Derbyshire in the village of Eyem. In Eyem, where 5 centuries ago the inhabitants quarantined themselves when plague developed in their midst. Manterfield deliberately keeps this parallel contagion in the background, only bringing it out in the credits at the end of the story.
The narrator manages to capture the drama of being a teenager authentically. At times I wanted to switch off from this hyped-up self-involvement but the plot line, though somewhat predictable, pulled me forward.
The ending is just about okay: some loose ends , like the possible efficacy of a local folk-remedy herbal tea are left satisfactorily unresolved, but the story ends on platitudes and an apparent but not fully convincing inner adjustment on the heroine’s part.
The teenagers in Ali Smith’s ‘Summer’ seem to me to express more authentically the dilemmas of being young adults in current times.