Review – Jilda’s Ark

Jilda’s Ark is a young adult novel that is a fun, fast-paced read about a girl who goes through a life changing experience. It also has a wonderful cover design that I loved, and it suits the book and narrative really well.

The story follows Jilda, a twin, who is travelling with her family on a cruise for her 16th birthday celebration (and her twins birthday, obviously). Then disaster strikes when her family are off board, the boat is taken over and jets off without most of its passengers and only Jilda and a few others left on board.

Jilda must then deal with her captors and things progress when their captors bring thousands more people on board due to environmental issues and the seas rising and people fleeing.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is that it just jumps straight into the action. It is fast paced and immediately grabs your attention and has you turning the pages wondering what will happen next.

This pace is mantined pretty well throughout the book and the mystery of what is happening and how it will effect Jilda keeps you reading.

The writing flows well, and I mostly enjoyed it, although sometimes I felt the characters reactions were a touch flat. When the ship is first taken over, Jilda’s reaction seems very mild for a young girl and this takes away from the sense of danger.

I did however really like all the characters and Jilda was ultimately a very likeable protagonist, and I found her to be calm and collected and sharing and caring. I also loved her friendship with Cheryl, and the relationship and inclusion of Jane and everything that happens there felt felt authentic and engaging.

Although I really liked the characters, there were times when I found the narrators voice a bit off. The use of first person really draws you in and is well done, but the characters ‘voice’ felt a little older than 16 and occasionally took me out of the story. There were also a few times when the writing was a little bit over explained – a little bit too much ‘showing’ and not telling in the writing. Most of the time the writing is good, but I feel it could be tightened up, such as sentences like – “Cheryl can see I’m feeling a bit wistful”. I’d rather this be shown, than told. Although this is meant for a younger audience, so that could be the reasoning.

Ultimately, this was an enjoyable read that was incredibly original, fast paced and gripping. It has great characters, and relationships. There could be some tidying and tightening up of the writing however. It is definitely unique and an important read that has some almost thriller vibes to it as well as LGBQT themes. A good solid read that will suit young adult audiences well.

This review was featured on Twinkl as part of their Top reads for 2022 campaign. 

Title: Jilda’s Ark

Author: Verity Croker

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Age: 15 – 18


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