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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
The Field by Ian Dawson is a fairly straightforward YA novel about two friends, Daniel and Kyle, and what happens when one of them is kidnapped. The book starts with an introduction to both boys and their friendship, and all of the normal adolescent school life adventures and girl crushes. There is also a parallel story of Austin and James, another pair of so-called friends, but in reality they are in a power and abuse-based dynamic. Austin is the one who ends up kidnapping Daniel one day, with James as his unwilling apprentice. This is not the first time Austin has abducted someone or abused them in captivity. Once Daniel goes missing, Kyle rises to the occasion and tries to find and rescue his friend. This is their story of friendship and also about those relationships in youth that are power based and what the youth of today can learn from this and protect themselves from abuse of this kind.
The Field is a fairly quick read and the time line moves quickly from showing the normal life of two teenage boys with their usual teenage problems to one where suddenly there is danger and kidnapping involved. I enjoyed Daniel’s character and he is very relatable and believable as a young 14-year-old boy. The book also highlights an important aspect of teenage life, where either due to peer pressure or bullying, young people often get dragged into and stuck in unhealthy, abusive relationships with peers. This book serves as an educational attempt to recognize these warning signs and not hesitate to try to get help. There is a website provided at the end, but I also think this book would benefit from having an entire list of references of websites and phone numbers teenagers can call in case of such difficulty. This is a good read for young adults and teenagers.