Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd



Displays the best characteristics of YA literature. If you missed it, go back and find it. You will not regret the effort.

TITLE: Bog Child

AUTHOR: Siobhan Dowd


LENGTH: 322 pages

GENRE: YA Historical Fiction

RELEASE DATE:  June 8, 2010 (Original publication date 2008.)

COVER EVALUATION: Reveals little about what’s behind it.

AUTHOR BIO:  Dowd was born in London to Irish parents in 1960. She died in 2007 from breast cancer. Bog Child was posthumously awarded the Carnegie Medal. (Wikipedia)

REVIEW: Fergus is on a mountain with his uncle, digging for peat when he finds a body, that of a child who may have been murdered. The story is set in Ireland, on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in 1981, when the “Troubles” were strong, and young men arrested for treason and/or sedition were staging hunger strikes.

The body Fergus discovered proves to have archaeological significance, and the two countries wrangle over its ownership. Fergus, in a touch of magical realism, begins to dream of the young girl and sees what led to her death as other plotlines develop simultaneously. Fergus’ imprisoned brother joins the hunger strike. Fergus is taking exams for college entry; he wants to be a physician. He falls in love with a visiting girl, the daughter of an archaeologist. The bog child and Fergus are the threads that tie all together, while the IRA fights locally, sinking deeper in Fergus’s family, and Fergus encounters death again.

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