Book Cover
Title The Scarecrows
Series ---
Author Robert Westall
Cover Art ---
Publisher Puffin Books - 1986
First Printing Chatto & Windus - 1981
Category Young Adult
Warnings None

Main Characters

Simon Wood, Joe Morton, Jane Wood

Main Elements Ghosts

"There were three figures standing among the turnips. Quite motionless. So inhumanly motionless it was beyond belief. Who were they? He had to know.

While reluctantly spending the summer at his hate stepfather's house, Simon Wood takes refuge from family pressures in the old mill house across the field. A discarded newspaper shows that it has been empty since 1943, but somehow Simon knows that there's more to the mill than meets the eye. Someone or something is watching and waiting, but for what?

When the scarecrows appear, Simon knows that it's only a matter of time before he is faced with a terrifying test.

Wow, this was a bit of a strange book (British authors in particular can get really dark and creepy).

The story starts with Simon at boarding school. Nothing supernatural there but I was already freaked out by being in Simon's head when his darker emotions take over...I recall starting to read an early Stephen King novella that had a similar premise and just couldn't continue, it was too disturbing. This kid needed some serious psychological help before he turns into a homicial psychopath...

I decided that I'll push through a little further with this one. Must admit that Simon never really grew on me, he was too disturbing a boy though I could understand where he was coming from a little bit as he dealt with his mother remarrying another man. Maybe as I was once a little girl I don't really know what its like to be in a little boy's head, but it was a bit of a freaky place.

The scarecrows only appear a significant way through the book. Now they were supposed to be spooky and they were. For the longest time I thought they were a psychological manifestation of Simon's disturbed mind, a metaphor for his feelings towards Joe. And they kind of were. But they were also the angry spirits of three dead people that used to live at the mill, haunted by their own demons and ready to lash out at everyone else. Kind of like the stone angels in Dr. Who, you never see them move but the moment you turn your back on them, they've crept just a little bit closer...

In the end probably the only person I didn't hate or was freaked out by was Joe. Defintely not for younger readers, and not really in the genre of books I usually read (I get too scared by scary books, but my sister was going to give this one away so thought I'd read it before it left the house), I guess in the end it was ok, but definitely not one I'd read again. But I know there's a whole genre of scary books for young readers, things like Goosebumps or A Darker Magic, so fans of those would probably enjoy this one.

Posted: May 2014


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