At the Lake by Jill Harris

The lake is almost like a second home to brothers Simon and Jem.  They’ve gone there every summer holiday for years to stay with their granddad, Barney.  They’ve explored the bush, the bays and coves, and swum and fished in the lake.  They feel safe here and it makes them happy.  But this year, things have changed.  Their dad has gone to Australia to look for work, Simon has been getting more and more annoyed with his little brother Jem, and the old farm is now a holding yard for old houses, guarded by a fierce dog and surrounded by barbed-wire fences.  What’s going on behind the fences and why is there so much security?

When Simon breaks into the yard and tries to find out what’s happening, he has a run-in with the owner, Squint Lewis who warns him never to come near the yard again.  Simon stays as far away from Squint as he can, but when he and Jem meet Squint’s children, Rosie and Tommy, they decide they have to figure out what’s going on in the yard before someone gets badly hurt.

At the Lake is a mysterious, adventure story set in New Zealand.  Jill Harris’ description of the ‘dark green’ lake, surrounded by ‘the bush, warmed by the sun, which was alive with insects and birds’  made me want to be there.  At first, I didn’t like the character of Simon, because he was always being mean to his brother, but he makes up for his behaviour throughout the story.  Squint Lewis matched his name perfectly and he was a very sinister character.  At the Lake is a great book that will keep you reading and is perfect for fans of Des Hunt.  

Recommended for 9+    8 out of 10

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