Hold Back the Tide

Hold Back the Tide by Melinda Salisbury

Everyone knows what happened to Alva’s mother, all those years ago.

But when dark forces begin to stir in Ormscaula, Alva has to face a very different future – and question everything she thought she knew about her past…


Eva May, year 9

26th November 2020 at 6:31 pm

It’s a really great book, I love the horror aspect of the book, when you start off reading it you would think it wouldn’t be as scary as it is and everything is going well until halfway through. I would really recommend this book as I loved reading it and give it 9.5/10

Thomas, year 9

26th November 2020 at 6:31 pm

The book started with a slow pace, and I must admit that I was getting a bit bored of waiting for the plot to build up. The characters were interesting, and I enjoyed the mystery in the first chapters over the mother’s death, but I did not enjoy the character of Ren, as I found him irritating, and I found that he did not develop much throughout the book, and I feel as though he should have done.

When the book starts to pick up pace, I found it extremely gripping, and I loved the design and concept of the creatures in this book. I found the idea of them turning people, almost like zombies, made them even more frightening, and made the characters seem more vulnerable and at risk. I loved the eventual truth of what really happened to Alva’s mother, and I thought it was a great choice as it made the eventual death of her father even more impactful and emotional.

The ending was very emotional, and I loved the fact that it was not generic, but something different from most books, as the main character dies, and I found the stretched out lead up to her slow death, as she turns into one of these monsters, makes the events seem out of our control, and makes the ending even more emotional and finalized.

Overall, I found this book a great read, and I would definitely recommend this to about ages 12-16.

James, year 9

26th November 2020 at 6:30 pm

I enjoyed this book quite a lot, despite it not being the usual style of book I read. This book is based in a lonely village in Scotland, a perfect isolated setting for the strange story that unravels there. The book revolves around a young girl called Alva who lives with her father. After her mother’s death, Alva presumes her father is the killer, creating a tense grab to the story, with the first chapter being purely about how to survive in a house with a murderer. Later through the story, she discovers the real truth about what had truly happened.

I enjoyed reading this book and would definitely recommend to anyone interested in mystery and anticipation. Melinda Salisbury has managed to keep the book interesting at all points, and is severely talented at hooking in the reader, especially near the beginning of the book. Melinda Salisbury chose a great setting for this story, as the town is isolated in the countryside of Scotland, providing many possibilities of what could happen and keeping the reader on edge. I really like this book and hope others enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Francesca, year 8

26th November 2020 at 6:24 pm

Hold back the tide is an amazing book and I absolutely love it! It is very gripping all the way through. There is a lot of description but it is easy to read with its fast moving pace. I would recommend this book to horror lovers and non-horror lovers, but if you get scared easily, I wouldn’t read it at night-time before bed! This is a brilliant book and I definitely recommend it to all.

Minnie, year 8

26th November 2020 at 6:23 pm

Hold Back the Tide was a very scary book. It was good scary though as it gave me a change because I never usually read horror books, I only watch horror movies. The ending of Hold Back the Tide was, for me, the best part of the book.

It is a very good book and I would recommend it to everyone, within the age range!

Emily, year 8

24th November 2020 at 1:57 pm

Review by Emily in Y8:

I really enjoyed Hold Back the Tide, I felt that it kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through. Each chapter was left on a cliff hanger which made me just read even further. Hold Back the Tide is a great horror book and it gets your adrenaline pumping from start to end! I would definitely recommend this book because of how the author has made the book so unexpected through page to page!

Callum, year 9

24th November 2020 at 1:55 pm

I feel this book is very enjoyable and days go fast but nights, when monsters roam, are slow and spine tingling. This has got to be one of my favourite books and I was gripped to keep reading and see what happens next. It was so much fun and scary to read.

Alex, year 9

19th November 2020 at 4:45 pm

Hold Back the Tide is an incredibly intense novel that grips you by the throat from the start and never lets you go. Hold Back the Tide is set in Scotland and is around the 19th-20th century. The setting of where the main character, Alva, a very strong-willed female protagonist and her supposed murderer dad in an extremely isolated area fits well with the themes and events of the book. For example, their house is a long way away from the village and Alva has to take a 1 hour journey every day to go back and forth from the village. The ending of Hold Back The Tide is very fitting to how the story has been taking you the entire time. In conclusion this book would make a great film/TV series and was a terrific read.

Neriah, year 8

19th November 2020 at 4:44 pm

Hold Back the Tide was a tremendously intriguing horror story. The plot was very interesting and twisted away entirely from what I imagined initially as (although it was very intriguing ) the blurb painted a picture of the exact story and so did the first couple of pages so it seemed very predictable, like I knew what was going to happen to the protagonist – and then the mystery creature showed up, thwarting her plans which I think was extremely intelligent. Then you have the small romance dilemma which the protagonist experiences and it intertwined with the main plot to create the perfect balance of compassion and horror. I do recommend this book but suggest that you read it at lighter parts of the day, far away from any sort of lake but not just before you go to sleep as I did.

Bertie, year 9

18th November 2020 at 9:51 am

‘Hold Back the Tide’ is a novel written by Melinda Salisbury that is set in Scotland. The book features one main character who is a sixteen year-old girl called Alva. The book doesn’t reference a certain time period that the story is set in, however, we can assume that the story is based between 1700 and 1900.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel, I thought it was very well written and the author combines the genres of drama and horror brilliantly throughout the novel. The author has created her own fictional monster to great effect and uses their introduction to switch the genre of the novel from drama to horror. This was an ingenious plot twist in the novel as it hooks the reader in and engrosses them in the story.

The story built in pace throughout the novel providing the reader with a constant feeling of curiosity. The characters were developed very well and by the end of the story the reader feels a connection with each of them, whether it be disgust with Giles or desperately wanting Alva to succeed. It is undeniable that this ability is incredible and what I expected from a bestselling author.

I would highly recommend this book to people who enjoy the horror genre, however, it may not appeal to people who dislike horror.

Harry, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 3:26 pm

The book starts off strongly with the drama and mystery of Alva’s vanishing mother. She lives constantly in fear of her dad who people and she herself think is a murderer. However later on in the book all is revealed when she encounters a strange creature in the woods and the book takes a sudden shift from drama to horror. The switch surprises you and is definitely what the book needs. I love the horror and mystery aspects of the book, sent chills down my spine and had me gripping the edge of my seat. Amazing book and full of the unknown, would definitely recommend.

Mrs G, Mayfield School

24th October 2020 at 5:23 pm

Mrs G, Mayfield School

Hold the Tide

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started reading this book, but I quickly believed in the characters and was carried along with them, as they navigated the path ahead. The author deftly wove the story and I was hooked until the end.

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