Where did I get it? I bought it because Amazon recommended it to me when I was looking for something else, and it ended up being one of those 3 for £10 deals, and I'm easily persuaded basically.
What's it about? It's the heatwave of summer 1976 and Peggy is 8 years old. Her German mother, Ute, was a concert pianist who met her dad, James, when he was turning the music for her at a concert. They live in London, but James has friends who are often around, who are survivalists or retreaters. James has built a fallout shelter in the cellar, but he talks of Die Hutte, a cabin deep in the woods in Germany.
Ute is away playing concerts when James has a huge argument with Oliver, one of his friends, and the next day he and Peggy leave the house and set out for die Hutte. It's a gruelling journey and one which nearly kills Peggy, who can't swim and is forever after traumatised by the river which borders the cabin, meaning she can't leave. Die Hutte isn't as kitted out with stuff as James thought, and for the first winter they really struggle. After that, James tells her that the rest of the world is dead and they are the only two survivors.
James builds Peggy a piano keyboard on the table in the hut and she learns to play one of her mother's favourite pieces of music (without ever sounding a note), and this really is indicative of his insanity.
Meanwhile, we know that Peggy has got home because it's November of 1985 and she's back in London with her mother and Oskar, a brother born after she was taken. She is struggling to deal with The two narratives come together towards the end of the novel.
This is a book for adults, but given that Peggy is a teenager I think that it would be suitable for an older teenager around her age. There are parts of it that are hard to read, so take care of yourself.
Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No
Are any main characters people of colour? No
Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? I guess there's some mental health issues going on, yes. .
Is there any sex stuff? I'll trigger warn for abuse
Are drugs mentioned or used? No
Is there any talk of death? Yes, I'll trigger warn for violent death
Are there swear words? Not many, but some
Would I recommend the book? Yes. It's dystopian and horrible, but Peggy is a likeable narrator and I was rooting for her the whole way through.
How many stars? Nine and a half out of ten. I'm definitely glad I read it!