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The Light Jar

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The Light Jar Reviews | Toppsta

Book Rating: 5 based on 16
16 Reviews
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The brand new read-in-one-sitting mystery from the bestselling author
of The Goldfish Boy, 2017's breakout children's book hit.
Nate and his mother are running away, hiding out in a tumbledown
cottage in the middle of a forest. When Mum heads off for provisions,
and then doesn't return, Nate is left alone and afraid, with
the dark closing in all around him. But comfort can come from the
most unexpected of places - a mysterious girl trying to solve the
clues of a treasure hunt and the reappearance of an old friend
from his past. Will Nate find the bravery needed to face the troubles
of his present and ultimately illuminate the future?

A story of fear and hope, loneliness and friendship - full of the
heart, engaging characters and propulsive, page-turning mystery
that has made THE GOLDFISH BOY the breakout children's books hit
of 2017.

The Light Jar Reviews | Toppsta

9781407171289
  • ISBN: 9781407171289
  • Pub Date: 4th January 2018
  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • Imprint: Scholastic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 304

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13th February '18
I read it to Peacehaven Little Library Middle Grade aged 9 to 12
The Light Jar 9781407171289
5 stars
This is a stunning book, perfect for year 5/6 children. Beautifully relatable characters and situations that give children understanding and insight into other lives. Nate is dealing with his mum’s escape from domestic violence. They have hidden themselves away in a tumbledown cottage with a broken window and a chicken in the lounge. From here Nate is forced to put his survival skills to the test when his mum goes out for shopping and doesn’t return. The mysterious appearance of Kitty and their quest to solve the treasure hunt adds a brilliant sense of adventure with lots of clues and red herrings thrown in. 
A warm, important story. A beautifully and sensitively written account of a boy learning the importance of friendship and of sharing your problems and asking for help. We loved it. 
5th February '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The Light Jar 9781407171289
5 stars
A deeply original mystery so tenderly told in the most profound, sensitive, intricate, authentic and moving of ways. 

Like a moth attracted to the light, I was instantly drawn to reading The Light Jar due to its intriguing plot however I hadn’t anticipated anything like just how captivating it would end up being. So much so, that I read a whopping 106 pages within the first hour of receiving it!

We first encounter Nate and his mum hurriedly speeding off in the car in the middle of the night towards their idea of salvation in the form of an abandoned and ramshackle cottage, belonging to a dearly loved family member’s deceased friend, only having been visited previously infrequently by Nate and his family.

So many questions follow from Nate during the trip.
So many questions, that unfortunately for him, just can’t seem to be answered by Mum.

From the opening page, we start to sense that something is not quite right and on arrival at the cottage, this is when we really begin to feel for Nate as he himself becomes increasingly aware of the fact that something is not quite right either. And when they start to explore their supposed place of solace, that too is not quite as homely as they had imagined it would be.

Desperately seeking provisions after one night’s stay, Mum heads off in search of a place to buy food however her return never materialises leaving Nate all alone to swallow in his new surroundings. Doubt, despair and darkness creep in.

Anxiously fending for himself whilst fighting his fears of the shadows, Nate slowly whiles away the time by reading his well-thumbed book, hoping his magic ball will give him all the answers he so desperately needs and trying his best to avoid the only thing that resembles any indication of life in the place: a scrawny chicken. 

But as time ticks away, and trepidation ensues and the hours turn in to days, Nate soon becomes distracted by the reappearance of an imaginary friend (Sam) and also entangled in an unsolved treasure hunt led by a girl (Kitty) and her cryptic riddles, who doesn’t really seem to belong in the real world either. Sam and Kitty soon develop in to Nate’s companions and confidants – acting as Nate’s closest humanly equivalents to the lights from his light jar – who try to guide, console and feed him through the remaining nights. Whether they’re just being nice, playing devil’s advocate with Nate’s conscience or they are just as lonely as Nate himself remains to be found out…

The story’s many layers continue to unravel themselves to allude to and reveal elements of the troubling home life and the manipulative, coercive and damaging behaviour of his mum’s emotionally-abusive new partner together with the lingering control he progressively possesses over Nate, his mother, his social life and even the fixtures and fittings of his own house.

Yet as you read on, there’s this innate sense of unburdening hope; optimism; faith; belief; warmth; courage; strength and character that shines through to the very end and that is what will stay with me from reading this story. That even after adversity, if you’ve got something to hold on to and can grasp even a glimpse of positivity then that can sometimes feel like the most powerful feeling in the world as Helen Keller once said “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart”.

Like the lights in the light jar offer Nate some comfort, attachment, reassurance and relief from the situations he finds himself in, The Light Jar could potentially highlight and raise awareness of personal, social and emotional (PSHE) issues in an appropriate classroom context leading to powerful discussions; promoting deep questioning and high levels of inference. However, whenever approaching emotive topics within the classroom, caution is to be evidently advised and sensitivity considered. So whilst I highly recommend this book for its thought-provoking and empathetic qualities, teachers contemplating using it should – as they should with all books they choose to use – ensure that they pre-read it to decide on its suitability for their class of children.

Lisa not only does it once again after the richly deserved success of The Goldfish Boy – leaving devoted fans of The Goldfish Boy feeling only ever so slightly disappointed if it means they will have to replace that as their favourite read with this (as I now have to do!). Once more, she achieves it so well in such an understated manner handling yet another intangible and complex issue in such a way that is both highly accessible and as relatable as it can be to readers, which to me is one of the highest forms of writing.
20th February '18
MunchkinMegan read it themselves aged 10 aged 10
The Light Jar 9781407171289
5 stars
I found this an absolutely captivating read, i was quickly drawn into the world of the wonderful Lisa Thompson's brain and i didn't free myself until i had devoured it all. I simply adore the way Lisa writes, she's incredibly descriptive and makes you feel as though you are witnessing everything she writes.

I found that the themes of the story were very strong and resonated with me straight away, there are at many times a very bleak sadness to the story and it's subjects aren't usually found in middle grade fiction but i feel that Lisa Thompson tackled them with such tender care that although i was deeply saddened by some of the elements within the book, i could feel her alongside me at every turn.

I felt this book was thoughtfully written, i found it engaging and i thought that Lisa Thompson excelled herself in terms of plot delivery.
23rd January '18
I read it myself (an adult) & to Miss Cleveland's Bookshelf aged 8 to 11
The Light Jar 9781407171289
5 stars
Nate hates the dark. When he’s woken up in the middle of the night to go on holiday, he packs his torch, favourite book, teddy and his Ask Me A Question Magic Ball. Only when he watches his mum in the car, does he realise things aren’t quite right, and when they arrive at their ‘holiday cottage’ he knows they aren’t. They are running and must stay hidden, at least for a little while.

When Nate’s mum goes out to get food and doesn’t return, he has to survive on his own, face his fears and work out what to do for the best, without revealing who he is or why he’s at the cottage to anyone, at least until his mum comes back…

Sam and Kitty, Nate’s mysterious companions, help him face the tumultuous emotions Lisa Thompson explores so delicately about domestic abuse and the effects on it’s victims. Every interaction is utterly believable, and the raw emotions Nate experiences reverberated in my soul as I read.

Powerful, gut-wrenchingly sad, yet full of hope and heart, The Light Jar is a hauntingly beautiful mystery, involving a very difficult subject, which Lisa Thompson handles with her trademark sensitivity, warmth and hope. A truly remarkable read!

Great for fans of The Imaginary and There May Be A Castle.
17th February '18
Seb1 read it themselves aged 8 aged 8
The Light Jar 9781407171289
5 stars
This is an lovely story of Nate and his adventures to find his mum who has gone missing, we found this book to be a great mystery with likeable characters with a strong emphasis on family and friendship. Quite deep in parts but very enjoyable
8th February '18
I read it myself (an adult) & to Darth aged 9 aged 9
The Light Jar 9781407171289
5 stars
This is an incredibly thought provoking book. As a parent, you want to shield your children from anything harmful, this book is about showing children how to cope if things get tough. We meet Nate and his mum as they are making a nighttime journey to stay in a deserted cottage. We know that they are running from a character called Gary. His mum heads out the next day and when she doesn't come back, Nate has to fend for himeself. Here the story really comes into its own, there are characters that help Nate cope and think about how he is feeling about things that have happened to him. An excellent read. I couldn't put this book down! 
28th May '18
BeeReaderK read it themselves aged 10 aged 10
The Light Jar 9781407171289
5 stars
A very interesting book I really enjoyed and made me think a lot.
18th February '18
I read it to Phoebe08 aged 10 aged 10
The Light Jar 9781407171289
5 stars
I read this to my 10 year old daughter. Wow we couldn't put it down. We thought the book was quite emotional. Always trying to second guess what was going to happen. 
The story covers lots of things to talk about. Especially the separation of a family, behaviour between partners and of course imaginary friends. 
The story is about a Mum and a Son and how and where they escape to when they leave Mum's partner Gary. Unfortunately Mum disappears after leaving a tumbledown cottage for food. Nate then has a visitor from an old imaginary friend. Nate goes on to meet a girl in the woods. But not is as it seems.
Such a wonderfully written story. 
12th March '18
I read it to Bobbin aged 10 aged 10
The Light Jar 9781407171289
5 stars
My son read 'The Goldfish Boy' and straight away wanted to read another book by this author - and was fortunate that this had just been published! He could not put the book down and was gripped by it right from the start. 

The story centres around Nate, a young boy who runs away to the woods with his mum. When his mum goes to get food and doesn't return, Nate is left to defend for himself. 

My son thought it was a fantastic story, even though he found bits of it creepy. And he is very keen to read more books by Lisa Thompson!
24th February '18
I read it to Hermione aged 9 aged 9
The Light Jar 9781407171289
5 stars
This is an absolutely beautiful and captivating book. I read it to my 9 year old at bedtime (I very rarely read to her these days) and we both enjoyed it so much. We found it so difficult to put down and finished it in a matter of days.

I found it wonderfully inspiring in showing children the importance of mental resilience in difficult circumstances. It has led to many interesting conversations between my daughter and I. Since I read it to her, she has gone back and started reading it herself.

A wonderful book. One that should sit on every child's bookcase. 
26th March '18
Olliebeanz read it themselves aged 10 aged 10
The Light Jar 9781407171289
5 stars
I loved this book. I am a fan of mystery books and this did not disappoint. I love Ned as a character, he is so brave in particular when he has to survive without his mum. It made me realise how lucky I am. This book is a real page turner and I would definitely recommend it.
4th January '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The Light Jar 9781407171289
5 stars
I was totally captivated by the story of Nate and his mother who run away in the middle of the night to hide out in a dilapidated cottage in the middle of nowhere. Nate is lost and confused about why he has been taken away from his home, he has so many questions but his Mum can’t give him the answers he craves. When his Mum heads out to get provisions and doesn’t return his loneliness and confusion is compounded. But salvation comes in the most unlikely of places when he accidentally bumps into a mysterious girl who refuses to let him be alone. This mysterious girl has her own puzzle to solve and together they must try to discover their own happy endings.

It’s so difficult to talk about this book without giving anything away because Lisa has crafted a superb story with so many hidden layers – that are gradually revealed throughout the story – I can’t elaborate too much for fear of spoiling it. But what I can share with you is the raft of emotions I have experienced whilst reading this book. Lisa has tackled an incredibly difficult subject in a completely sensitive way deliberately revealing tiny details throughout the book that when you combine them all together are utterly heart-breaking and desperately sad. However this is just one element of this remarkable story, she has cleverly woven these other mysteries into Nate’s life so that the reader doesn’t feel the full impact of the underlying truth of what has actually happened to him and his Mum. Beautifully written and exceptionally told this is a book that demands to be read
21st February '18
Yoloman read it themselves aged 12 aged 12
The Light Jar 9781407171289
4 stars
I enjoyed the book, it wasn't what I expected, I thought it would be a story for younger children from the front cover of the book. 
In the story you follow Nate, its sad at times and I wouldn't recommended for under 10's
24th February '18
Calvin read it themselves aged 12 aged 12
The Light Jar 9781407171289
4 stars
This is a good book which I really enjoyed reading. A mum and her son run away from the dad into a dark cottage in the middle of the woods.  The mum disappears one morning and doesn't return so the boy has to fend for himself, he makes friends with a girl but she is not what she says she is.
13th March '18
MuzFuz10 read it themselves aged 6 aged 6
The Light Jar 9781407171289
4 stars
I loved this book. My feelings for Nate and his mum kept me reading and I finished the book in just a few days. The mystery has you hooked and you just need to know what comes of this little family.
I would tell everyone to read this book.
28th February '18
Booyu read it themselves aged 8 aged 8
The Light Jar 9781407171289
3 stars
I liked most of this book but there was a lot of dark, sad bits that I didn’t like, I don’t really like very sad books. So this book is about a boy called Nate and his mum who run away from Gary!  They go to a tumble-down cottage in the middle of nowhere when mum goes out for food and doesn’t return what is a little boy to do….  I did like the character Nate and his imaginary friends characters weRe very interesting and was it was funny that they had a party. The story does have a happy ending though and well written so someone who likes stories like this would enjoy it just not a book for my personal likes.
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About Lisa Thompson

Lisa Thompson Biography
Lisa Thompson worked as a Radio Broadcast Assistant first at the BBC and then for an independent production company making plays and comedy programmes. During this time she got to make tea for lots of famous people. She grew up in Essex and now lives in Suffolk with her family. Her debut, THE GOLDFISH BOY, was a Waterstones Ch...

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