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White Crow

White Crow

4.0 4
by Marcus Sedgwick

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One of School Library Journal's Best Fiction Books of 2011

Some secrets are better left buried; some secrets are so frightening they might make angels weep and the devil crow.

Thought provoking as well as intensely scary, Marcus Sedgwick's White Crow unfolds in three voices. There's Rebecca, who has come to a small, seaside village to


One of School Library Journal's Best Fiction Books of 2011

Some secrets are better left buried; some secrets are so frightening they might make angels weep and the devil crow.

Thought provoking as well as intensely scary, Marcus Sedgwick's White Crow unfolds in three voices. There's Rebecca, who has come to a small, seaside village to spend the summer, and there's Ferelith, who offers to show Rebecca the secrets of the town...but at a price. Finally, there's a priest whose descent into darkness illuminates the girls' frightening story. White Crow is as beautifully written as it is horrifically gripping.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sedgwick (Revolver) addresses themes of death and what may (or may not) await in the afterlife in this chilling story, told in three voices and in two parallel stories set 200 years apart. In contemporary England, teenage Rebecca reluctantly moves to the coastal village of Winterfold, trading her life back in Greenwich for a lonely town where she knows no one and that every year loses more of itself to the inexorable pull of the sea. Soon, though, Rebecca is discovered by Ferelith, "the strangest-looking girl she's ever seen," who opens a dangerous new world to Rebecca, as Ferelith draws her into Winterfold's dark secrets and legends. The mystery that is Ferelith—a calculated and intelligent girl who left school at age 14, lives in a commune, and doesn't seem entirely human—will pull readers through the book, as will a twin mystery that unspools through the increasingly frenzied journal entries of a local priest in 1798, himself in the thrall of a mysterious stranger. Showing his customary skill with a gothic setting and morally troubled characters, Sedgwick keeps readers guessing to the very end. Ages 12–up. (July)
From the Publisher

“Readers in search of an atmospheric horror/thriller with a high body count and a multilayered mystery--not to mention a good scare--will find plenty to like here.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“* Showing his customary skill with a gothic setting and morally troubled characters, Sedgwick keeps readers guessing to the very end.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This book is one thing very few YA novels are: genuinely scary.” —Booklist

Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Against her desire, Rebecca moves to Winterfold from London because her Detective Inspector dad has to lie low until the hullabaloo about his involvement in the death of a teenage girl simmers down. Winterfold is hot and boring and falling into the sea little by little. But Rebecca does meet a strange and fascinating girl named Ferelith and they become friends. Together they explore the town as Ferelith lures Rebecca into discussions of life and death and whether Heaven and Hell actually exist. Juxtaposed in this story are excerpts from the diary of an eighteenth century priest who is wondering about the same issues with a strange French doctor. The girls start daring each other to do increasingly bizarre and dangerous things and end up with Rebecca being locked in a special room where Ferelith tries to coerce her friend into admitting the reality of good and evil or God and the Devil or an afterlife. The two finally explore a hidden room/cave at the bottom of the French doctor's house and find bones of the seven people the doctor and priest had murdered. As the girls are in the room, the back of the house falls into the sea. Ferelith jumps into the sea and drowns, leaving a terrified Rebecca alone in the cave. A strange story with dark twists and turns which will keep the reader enthralled, even if it is a bit convoluted. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Three lives intersect in this disquieting but skillfully written tale of the human desire to know what awaits us after death. Beautiful and bitter Rebecca has come to the crumbling seaside village of Winterfold with her police-officer father to escape the consequences of a deadly choice he made. She meets Ferelith, a peculiar local girl who prefers "things that are frightening," and who convinces Rebecca to join her in rebellious and perilous activities. Ferelith shares a troubling story of dark doings in the history of Winterfold, which leads to the third part of this tale, which is told through excerpts from the diary of a priest, written in 1798, about a devilish scientific experiment. The three characters around whom the narrative revolves are well realized and realistically flawed, and the story is hugely compelling. The plot moves forward with Sedgwick dangling juicy details in front of readers, revealing just enough information to keep them guessing, never allowing everything to be exposed at once. As all the puzzle pieces fall into place, the peril for the girls rises to a terrifying crescendo, and teens will have no choice but to continue until the last page is turned.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Kirkus Reviews

Two girls are brought together more from ennui than anything else in this riveting tale that brings the murderous history of a disintegrating coastal town into the present.

Rebecca moves to Winterfold with her disgraced father, a policeman accused—but not convicted—of failure to do his duty, which resulted in a death. Her boyfriend quickly moves on, and, left to her own resources, she discovers Ferelith, a girl close in age, but miles away in capacity for dangerous stunts. Neither girl likes the other much, but there's little else to distract them. Judiciously interspersed are extracts from the 1798 diary of a parson who has met a French newcomer and discovers that they are both fascinated to know what science can tell them of the afterlife. As the grisly experiments of the past are gradually revealed, so dothe girls embark on increasingly dangerous games of daring, uneasily testing their trust and knowledge of each other.While at any moment they could walk away from the nightmare that only readers know is unfolding, these casual choices nonetheless lead them onward. The sea is eroding the coast, and the half-demolished buildings perched on cliff tops add a physical component to the unease. Masterfully plotted to keep the suspense ratcheting ever higher.

Wickedly macabre and absolutely terrifying.(Horror.14 & up)

Product Details

Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
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Sales rank:
810L (what's this?)
File size:
647 KB
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt


She could have been anyone.
She could have been any girl who arrived in Winterfold that summer.
That sounds strange, doesn’t it?
It sounds strange to my ears, anyway. Summer in Winterfold. How can there ever be any other season here but winter, with a name like that? But whatever the time of year, Winterfold has a cold embrace and, like the snows of winter, it does not let you go easily.
Once upon a time there was a whole town here, not just a handful of houses. A town with twelve churches and thousands of people, dozens of streets, and a busy harbor.
And then the sea ate it.
Storm by storm, year by year, the cliffs collapsed into the advancing sea, taking the town with it, house by house and street by street, until all that was left was a triangle of three streets, a dozen houses, an inn, a church. Well, most of it …
And then, that summer, she arrived. And actually I’m lying.
She couldn’t have been anyone, because the moment I saw her beautiful face I knew I loved her, and I knew she would love me, too.
I knew.

Text copyright © 2011 by Marcus Sedgwick

Meet the Author

MARCUS SEDGWICK is most recently the author of Revolver, which was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in the UK and received four starred reviews in the US. The author of eleven widely admired previous novels, he lives in Sussex, England.
Marcus Sedgwick was born and raised in Kent in South East England, but now lives in the French Alps. His books have won and been shortlisted for many awards; most notably, he has been shortlisted for Britain’s Carnegie Medal six times, has received two Printz Honors, for Revolver and Ghosts of Heaven, and in 2013 won the Printz Award for Midwinterblood.

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White Crow 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SpartanReading More than 1 year ago
The White Crow I give this book 4 stars, because it doesn’t evolve into its true meaning until you’re in the middle of the book. In the beginning all it truly talks about is Rebecca’s and Ferelith’s “adventures” together, and how much Rebecca misses her friends back home. Until you get to the middle where all the secretes start pouring out into place. The book is told by three people Rebecca the new girl in town, a priest, and Ferelith the girl that’s lived in Witerfold all her life, and knows all of Winterfolds darkest secretes! Rebecca is new in the very small town of Winterfold. Winterfold is slowly going away has the high tides of the ocean eat away the sides of Winterfold little by little. When Rebecca moved to Winterfold it was so her dad a Detective Inspector could go away for a bit while the rumors of his involvement of a teen’s murder die down. The priest talks about life after death. If Hell and Heaven truly exists, or if it’s just a myth. As the book goes deeper into the dark I guarantee you will get the chills and ask yourself if there is a such thing as heaven and if there is will you be there after death. I would recommend this book to anyone that loves a horror book. Also if you think about hell and heaven this book may answer questions. This is something said by the priest “Hell is upon me. Hell is upon us all, unseen at every turn. Lord, will you not save us yet? Must we wait so long? Must we wait in vain”? This also said by the priest “Lord mend me! Save me! Before it is too late”. Will you dare to read this book?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just read the sample. It's not eye catching it is kinda boring
Anonymous More than 1 year ago