The Raptures, Jan Carson ( hardback Jan 2022)
£14.99When several children from the same village start succumbing to a mysterious illness, the quest to discover the cause has devastating and extraordinary consequences. It is late June in Ballylack. Hannah Adger anticipates eight long weeks' reprieve from school, but when her classmate Ross succumbs to a violent and mysterious illness, it marks the beginning of a summer like no other.
As others fall ill, questions about what - or who - is responsible pitch the village into conflict and fearful disarray. Hannah is haunted by guilt as she remains healthy while her friends are struck down. Isolated and afraid, she prays for help.
Elsewhere in the village, tempers simmer, panic escalates and long-buried secrets threaten to emerge. Bursting with Carson's trademark wit, profound empathy and soaring imagination, The Raptures explores how tragedy can unite a small community - and tear it apart. At its heart is the extraordinary resilience of one young girl.
As the world crumbles around her, she must find the courage to be different in a place where conforming feels like the only option available. Darkly funny, highly inventive and deeply moving, The Raptures is an unmissable novel of 2022.