Heritage crime [noun]:
A previously undetected crime committed by your parents or grandparents for which you are held responsible.
Imagine a time when society demands that someone pays the price for 'heritage crimes'. A time when you and your family could be locked up in Spike, the family wing of Her Majesty's Prison London Spikeout, even though you are innocent.
Chilling? Absolutely! But that's not the worst of it!
Ant and Mattie (her younger brother) find themselves in Cell 33 of Spike for crimes committed by their parents. Their foster parents are incarcerated with them, also repaying the debt owed to society by the actions of their families. Each has to wear a 'strap', a cruel device which causes the wearer to walk with an altered posture and gait. Not only does the strap 'tag' the wearer so their location is known, it makes them easily identifiable by how they move, leading to the name 'Strutter'.
Despised by society who see them as a target for blame and hatred, Strutters are also hated by the Ladies of the Castle (prisoners in Holloway) and the Villagers (prisoners in Pentonville). Tension is at boiling point and the slightest thing will set things off.
Abigail Norton Turner (Ant) believes they are NOT TO BLAME and her actions are the trigger to the chaos that follows...
This is a real page turner with plenty of action and tension to make sure you don't go to sleep until you have finished it in one session (or is that just me?)
Ant is a great heroine. She's not always likeable, but she has real guts, determination and the desire to make things right. Simon Mayo manages to give the reader glimpses of her troubled past, increasing our empathy for the plight she and her brother are now in, without detracting from our admiration for her spirit and quirkiness. She has to be one of my favourite characters in YA at the moment!
The plot is full on and compelling, leaving you wondering what on earth could happen next. It makes you think about society, social values, issues of law, but also about family, friendship, loyalty and community.
This is one of those books you have to read for yourself- if too much is said, it might spoil the story- and I really recommend you do. Just make sure you don't start it too late in the evening!
Blame by Simon Mayo
Corgi Children's ISBN: 978-0552569071