Over the past few days I read The Field by Ian Dawson. There is a follow up novel called Midnight House which takes place a couple years after The Field, but I haven’t read that one yet.
The main storyline in the novel takes place over the course of one evening/night. Daniel and Kyle are best friends who live across the street from each other. It’s the summer before high school and they have big plans to further explore a big field by their houses. Each summer they explore a little more of it and set up a hang out spot.
On the first night of summer break, Daniel makes plans to stay over at Kyle’s. They’ve never been to the field at night, but decide to go there before dinner for a quick round of hide and seek. But, things don’t go as planned. While Daniel searches for Kyle in all the usual spots, he ends up leaving the field and finds himself in not the best neighborhood. Two boys a little older than him, Austin and James, see Daniel on his bike and go after him. Austin is a teenage psychopath who likes to torture animals and people. James wants nothing to do with the sick things Austin does but afraid to go against him because Austin is violent and crazy.
The novel follows Daniel stuck in this scary situation and trying to escape while Kyle searches for his best friend. It also has some chapters from Austin and James’ perspectives so the reader can get a better idea of what is going through their minds.
I have very mixed feelings about The Field. The author has some notes/a message at the end of the novel talking about how the story is about friendship both good friendships and toxic friendships. And while I can see that in the novel, I think the storyline is a pretty disturbing and graphic way to explore friendships. With that being said, I did find myself wanting to keep reading just because I wanted to see how it would end and how Daniel would get away from his captors. I also thought the author put in some details that I think he meant to include to seem realistic such as Daniel’s shyness and fear of changing in the locker room and showering in front of the other boys, but at some point end up just being overdone. It might be relatable for any boys reading the novel and it may help emphasize how bad some of the things Austin does are especially considering how shy Daniel is about his body, but I didn’t personally need so many of the early chapters to be about or to focus on the boys talking about their genitals and whatnot. That’s just me though.
The Field doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but Midnight House is a follow up on the characters in case you were wondering.
*I was sent these books complimentary, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.*