Remember those long hot summer holidays? School is over; there is nothing to do but mess around the playground, waiting for something to happen.
That's what this summer is like for Anita, newly moved into the crowded streets of South East London. Often a loner, she becomes fascinated by the assurance, the off-handed behaviour of the boy who goes to her school and lives in the crumbling, grander house across the road. She cannot work out why he seems always in the company of the fat, slow, talkative Dennis with his highly religious mother. There always are initiation ceremonies, forfeits that have to be paid, if you want to become part of a group. There are also demarcation disputes, turf wars.
But as the summer wears on, there are wonderful times of exploring old mines, of finding treasures in the mud by the river, of a sudden feeling that there is real friendship. But the days have black edges: there are strange mysteries about Kyle's family and his missing sister; Dennis is nearly drowned through a mad idea of Kyle's; people disappear. Anita feels that a sacrifice is the only way to cement her friendship, her love for Kyle, and her blood bond with him.
Reminiscent of ‘The Lovely Bones’, ‘The Wasp Factory’, and ‘Lord of the Flies’, as challenging in its ideas and presentation as the highly praised film 'Hidden', ‘Dogs Days’ is a brilliant portrait of a girl growing up, of the importance of the peer group, the gang and the delight of violence. This world draws you in to live vicariously through its hot summer days.