Encounters, by Costa-winner Jason Wallace

"...an exceptional, unforgettable book."

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"The aliens came just after the children had gone to the playground for their breaktime..."

A team of investigators has travelled to southern Africa to look into what appear to be implausible reports of an extraterrestrial encounter: over fifty kids from a quiet, suburban school claim to have witnessed a spaceship land beyond the edge of the playground.

Sure, it's probably nothing more than a case of mass hysteria, but there's something about these reports that's impossible to ignore: the children all tell the same story, over and over.

And the pictures they draw are identical, right down to the creature with the big eyes emerging through the trees.

How could that many kids lie so convincingly? For so long? They clearly saw something that day, but what?

Inspired by remarkable true events, Encounters covers the time of the investigation as told by six children . . . Six lonely lives, aged between eight and eighteen, who discover they are far more connected to something out there – and each other – than they could have ever thought possible.

"I saw this silver colour flashing orange in the sky, and me and my friends were following it.
At first we thought it was an aeroplane, but it had no wings and it was shaped like a disc
so we thought maybe it was a UFO, and we started getting scared."

"There was no shape behind the light when it was on the ground but I definitely remember seeing smaller yellow-orange lights at the base of the large white light. They were in motion."

"We saw the silver thing, and there was a man standing at the bottom of it and there was a man standing nearer in the trees. They were just looking at us. They didn't move their heads like we can."

"If you see something and no one believes it, it's like that thing can never be true even though it is, and they tease you and call you names, and it makes me really upset."

Featured in The Sunday Times Summer Reading list, 25 June 2017

"...ingeniously constructed, and as transfixing as the sighting of a UFO" - @NicoletteJones

Patricia Hyde

Member of Staff, Leda School

"I'm fully aware of how children love a tall tale, but I've seen the pictures those kids drew... And I'll tell you this for nothing: after over twenty years of living in this school I know kids, and they saw something. They did. I don't know what it was, but they saw something that day and it really got under their skins."

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