cover image Hostage Three

Hostage Three

Nick Lake. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61963-123-6

The Somali pirates who seize a British yacht dehumanize their victims by giving them numbers. Thus, millionaire banker James Fields and his new wife become Hostages One and Two. Hostage Three is his 17-year-old daughter, Amy, who narrates this perceptive and harrowing novel from Printz-winner Lake (In Darkness). Despite virtuosic talent with the violin and a posh upbringing, Amy is sullen and adrift when the story opens, having sabotaged her final A-level exam and had her face pierced with multiple bolts—all to get back at her father for remarrying too soon after her mother’s death. Amy initially greets his plan to sail around the world with apathy, but having a gun put to her head awakens her will to live, especially when the gunman is Farouz, the pirates’ interpreter, with whom Amy has secretly developed a romance. Through Farouz, Amy learns about the Somalis’ daily struggle to survive the desert and decades of war (“All our stories are about hunger,” Farouz tells her). An inventive narrative construction (Lake offers alternate endings) plays on the highly unstable situation of this utterly compelling read. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)