The Sacrifice Box

The Sacrifice Box

Martin Stewart,

The Sacrifice Box

Penguin, 2018

ISBN 9780141371610

14-16 Shortlist 2019


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out of 5



Who Wrote It?

Martin Stewart has previously worked as a recycling technician, university lecturer, barman, golf caddy, and English teacher. Having written his first book on Post-Its as an eight year-old, it was his time back in the classroom that made him understand the unique joy of writing for younger readers. A native of Glasgow, where he still lives, he enjoys buying books to feed his to-be-read pile, and combining the city’s urban splendour with walks on the beaches of Scotland’s west coast. The Sacrifice Box is his second book.

What's It About?

Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley: five friends thrown together one hot, sultry summer. When they discover an ancient stone box hidden in the forest, they decide to each make a sacrifice: something special to them, committed to the box forever. And they make a pact: they will never return to the box at night; they’ll never visit it alone; and they’ll never take back their offerings.

Four years later, a series of strange and terrifying events take place. Someone broke the rules, and now everyone has to pay. But how much are they willing to sacrifice?

Fact File

Martin lives in Scotland with his wife and daughter and their dog.

He enjoys stories that take place in the shadows, and exploring the tension between laughter and fear. He loves the work of John Steinbeck and Philip Pullman.

He visits schools and festivals all over the UK, promoting reading for pleasure, sharing his creative process and delivering writing masterclasses.

He likes meeting interesting writers with whom he can record episodes of his podcast, Four Books.

For more information visit Martin’s website: or follow him on Twitter @MartinJStewart.

Your Reviews

Diana from Grange Technology College:

The Sacrifice Box is a story about a group of 5 friends, Arkle, Sep, Hadley, Lamb and Mack who made a sacrifice to a box they’d found in a forest, after the box had put the rules in Sep’s head. Little did they know, the box wasn’t as innocent as they’d thought. And it’s set in a seaside town called Hill Ford.

I found The Sacrifice Box to be a very intriguing story. It was so fantastical and immersive, I just couldn’t put it down! I loved every character in the novel. Each one of them made me feel like I knew them, almost as if I was in the story itself. The side characters in the novel really stood out to me, too. I could not stop thinking about Mario’s past, who he is as a character and why he is the way he is in the novel. How did he end up becoming a vet/fish and chip shop owner? How did he and Sep meet in the first place?

The entire novel keeps you on the edge of your seat and makes you scream along with the sudden spurts of action, agony, fear, anger, and surprise. Whilst I was reading, I thought that the story would calm for a second, but another moment of action would shoot out and have me biting my fingernails. It becomes really intense towards the end of the novel, too. More and more of those moments seemed to pop up, but that’s just one of the things I loved about the story.

A definite 5/5. I loved it.

Diana gave The Sacrifice Box 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Rosie Loves Jack by Mel Darbon.

Rafea from Southfield Grange Campus:

The characters discover a mysterious box but then make a mistake then try to correct it.

The story is a diary format and written in the 3rd person.

I enjoyed the book, especially chapter 49 where the group, Sep, Mack, Hadley, Arkle and Lamb start to work together. My favourite character was Hadley because even though she felt weak she kept going.

I had to guess the ending of the story, the book made me cry because they all work as a team.

The book was suitable for my age range because it contained adventure.

Rafea gave The Sacrifice Box 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess.

Rafeha from Grange Technology College:

I liked the book.

I would recommend this to a friend as it is intriguing and full of adventure.

Rafeha gave The Sacrifice Box 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess.