When the Mountains Roared

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

Book Title: When the Mountains Roared

Author: Jess Butterworth

Publisher: Orion

Publication Date: April 2018

Most Suitable For: Years 4-6

When the Mountains Roared is the much anticipated second novel from Jess Butterworth after her first book, Running on the Roof of the World (available here and also featured on our Best Books for Year 6) went down a storm in Key Stage 2 classrooms.

The physical book itself is actually really beautiful both inside and out, with its stunning cover by Rob Biddulph and the leopard-print design of its pages. This is the kind of book that makes you want to stop and admire it, to flick through the pages and to just enjoy holding it. Although I was kindly sent a digital proof by the publisher, I was keen to purchase the book itself too because its design is just so appealing.

The story follows Ruby, a twelve-year-old girl who is grieving the recent death of her mother and has become filled with fear since her mother’s car accident. Ruby is an animal lover and she enjoys photographing wildlife. At the beginning of the story, Ruby faces the devastating news that her Dad is planning to uproot them from their Australian home and relocate to a remote mountain village in India to run a hotel.

Unimpressed when she arrives in her new home, Ruby does manage to find some things to like about the foreign setting. Jess Butterworth’s descriptions of the mountain landscape are beautiful and evocative as nature-lover Ruby takes in the new smells, colours and wildlife of the Himalayan habitat. Although the hotel is quite isolated, Ruby quickly befriends a local shepherd boy called Praveen, who shares Ruby’s admiration of the natural world.

Together, Ruby and Praveen set about to protect the few remaining leopards from the threat of poachers. The story is full of danger and adventure as Ruby undertakes a perilous trek through the mountains and comes face to face with some very hostile poachers, putting aside her own fears in order to save the leopards.

This is an atmospheric and enticing story that explores an important theme about preservation and it will appeal to readers in Years 4-6.


Find When the Mountains Roared online or from your local bookshop or library.

Many thanks to the publisher for kindly sending me a digital proof copy of this book via Netgalley.


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