It is difficult to know where to start a review of a book as extraordinary as Corinna Turner’s Someday. I am not a fan of YA fiction as a rule but my attention was drawn to this book because of the parallels with my own novel about the enslavement of Christian girls.
However, rather than exploring historical slavery, Turner’s novel is a retelling of the harrowing story that made global headlines when girls from a Nigerian boarding school were abducted by Boko Haram, many of them never to be seen again. (The novel is endorsed by Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, Nigeria.) The author challenges readers to consider how they would feel if girls from their own country were snatched and abused in that way. Therefore, the Nigerian school becomes a British school for girls; the children who are abducted feel familiar: Becky the aspiring ballerina, Gemma the obstreperous kid determined to survive whatever the cost, Ruth the kind Catholic girl, Yoko the newbie from Japan who has come to England to learn the language.
The characters involved in the search feel equally close to home—the Muslim twins in the Territorial Army struggling to prevent a family member becoming radicalised, Theresa a busker on the streets of Oxford. As the novel charts the girls’ horrific journey into slavery from their abduction in the middle of the night to their voyage on board a ship bound for an unknown destination, the reader is left with the persistent question: how would I feel if this were my sister? My daughter? My best friend?
The novel is not without faults. The author uses multiple perspective very skillfully to accommodate a range of viewpoints, but there are so many different characters represented that at times I lost track of which character was which, and some are more convincingly drawn than others. The girls themselves are believable British schoolgirls but some of the minor characters never quite come to life, such as the seven-year-old boys who never really sound like young children.
This article continues at [Catholic World] Powerful YA novel presents a harrowing tale of modern-day slavery