Book Review by Mishal Faraz
Fast paced, witty, mysterious and poignantly beautiful, Thunderstruck, written by British author Ali Sparkes, is a very satisfying read – a book which can be visited again and again. Yes, sometimes lightning does strike twice and when it does, strange things happen!
When the book opens, we meet Theodore, a “gawky and quirky” 11-year-old boy and Alisha, an 11-year-old girl who is absolutely hopeless at sports. As the two are chatting, a thunderbolt strikes the tree they are sitting under. It also strikes them. They are knocked unconscious but miraculously survive. After a brief stay in the hospital, having sustained a few injuries, the two are back in school.
Something in their brains is now “rebooted” and now suddenly Theodore is all attentive in class and Alisha is getting rather good at sports. They are unwittingly connected because of what they went through. And also because they realize that they can now see ghosts! What’s more, they can talk to them! This chilling revelation has left their minds in a turmoil and they need each other for support.
They meet the ghosts of Douglas, 14 and Lizzie, 13. To their disbelief they discover that Douglas and Lizzie were killed many, many years ago by a thunderbolt in the same town! Once Theodore and Alisha overcome their sense of shock, they make friends with the easy going and kind Douglas and Lizzie. They even give themselves a name – the “Strike Club”.
However, after a while, Theodore and Alisha start seeing other ghosts – rather sinister-looking ghosts who are trying to warn them about an impending catastrophe which could cause mayhem for their school and beyond. The onus of saving everyone now lies on the Strike Club. Would these four individuals connected by a strange quirk of fate be able to avert the danger that looms ahead? Read this absolute gem of a book to find out!
Thunderstruck is, without a doubt, one of the best books published in 2017. The supernatural and paranormal is portrayed without being frightening. The camaraderie shared between the two sets of victims of the thunder bolt is heartwarming and the highlight of this book. Separated by decades, they faced the same ordeal: Theodore and Alisha were lucky to have lived through it, Douglas and Lizzie were not. One cannot but feel this tinge of sadness for Douglas and Lizzie, the years they lost out on, watching day after day boys and girls living lives which they could have lived too. One line from the book said by Douglas lingered in my mind long after I had turned the last page-
“If there is a God, I might have to ask Him why he sent a lightning bolt to kill us.”
For its sense of mystery, light-hearted moments of the unusual friendship between individuals belonging to two different worlds and a fluid and grasping narration, Thunderstruck would definitely be a fantastic addition to any bookshelf.