Have you ever known what it feels like not to be believed? The six children who share the narration of Encounters all have a different version of this problem, and they are drawn together by something that beggars belief: a UFO landing, the details of which have been reported identically by almost an entire class of children.
Gary denies having seen anything at all. His older brother would disown him if he said otherwise.
Tendai, Gary's former best friend, saw something that day. Now he might be seeing family ghosts too.
Chloe has an even worse monster to worry about.
Karl, the headmaster's son, risks being alienated when his feelings for Mark rise to the surface.
Sixpence, an outsider and petit thief, is just beginning to stand up for what he believes in.
And Holly has been dragged here from America with her UFO investigating parents. She isn't sure what to believe. But as an outsider she notices things that the other children don't. Perhaps she could help uncover a dark secret within the school.
Based on a real reported UFO sighting, with elements of The Catcher in the Rye and nineties references aplenty (including, of course, The X-Files), Encounters is one of the most intelligent and character-driven teen/adult crossover books I've read. Fans of Patrick Ness and Frances Hardinge will find something equally smart and emotional but also refreshingly different in Jason Wallace's sun-drenched South African UFO story.