Sharp North
Patrick Cave

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Hardcover/528 pages
ISBN: 1-4169-1222-3
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". . . an intense, riveting journey . . ."

". . . a frightening story, but also one of strength, love, and most importantly, hope."

In Sharp North, Patrick Cave presents a stark, menacing Britain of the future. An elite society of ‘Great Families’ rule over every aspect of the country controlling its politics, the media as well as fertility and population control. These families have been secretly cloning themselves for centuries and creating ‘spares’ while strictly controlling the fertility of the rest of society.


Global warming has wreaked its havoc, turning England into a flooded landscape. Teenage Mira and her family struggle to survive in the still frozen northern Scottish territory, oblivious to the malevolent forces shaping their world. This tense, dark thriller opens with Mira witnessing the murder of a stranger, a woman who looks strikingly familiar and who carries with her a secret that Mira must discover.


After escaping to London, Mira transforms herself into one of the throng of street people, a homeless ‘Scroat’ – the dregs of society in this future police state. From there she continues her sinister odyssey of discovery, learning just how far the ‘Great Families’ cabal will go to protect their secrets.


While Sharp North is a novel crafted for young adults, its suspenseful plot will appeal to older readers as well. With its many characters, plot twists and an ominous, slow pace, a more mature audience may grasp the details and appreciate the atmospheric writing better. As with any good science fiction writing, Cave deftly explores the controversial topics of today’s society in his future world, giving possible answers to “what if?” and taking readers on an intense, riveting journey. It is a frightening story, but also one of strength, love, and most importantly, hope.

Reviewer: Lesley Williams