Penguin Random House
July 31, 2017
Penguin (AU YR)
What a fantastic and gripping read this is! This one had to be read over two nights but it was a wrench to leave it halfway!
Ily (Iliad) Piper is a young woman who has had to face many emotional upheavals in her life and now as a young woman is dealing with the backlash of them. Her father is in jail after years of physical and mental abuse of her mother, Eve, and indeed Ily herself. Ily is living in Darwin now with her mother and her Nan but is sullen and resentful of the past few years when she has been sent away to boarding schools. She doesn’t realise that this was a safety precaution on the part of her mum and nan, she is just pissed off with them both. The only thing she enjoys at her new school is her rather quirky friend Mia and her Art which she hopes to turn into a career. Then she hooks up with Jared – self-obsessed, angry and a control freak, just like her father. Despite all advice from friends including the annoying next door neighbour, Indigenous boy Max, Ily pursues the relationship with Jared and falls into the same trap as her mother had done before her.
This is a brilliant and insightful exploration of the nature of domestic abuse of women and how behaviours become patterns. Fortunately for Ily she has ‘look outs’ on her side. Her mum, her nan, Max, Mia and more are there at exactly the right moments to protect her both from Jared and from her father, recently released from jail.
There are some sensitive aspects to this which may preclude it from your secondary collection such as sexual activity, violence and profanity but truly it is such an exceptional book that examines such a topical issue I would still urge you to consider it, even with provisos.
Highly recommended for mature readers from around sixteen years upwards.
Zephyr Books/Head of Zeus
It’s a long way from the wide blue skies and shimmering heat haze of Kenya to the bleak snow covered moors of Inverness and for 12 year old Makena the journey is not just a geographical one.
Much loved only child of a science teacher mother and a mountain guide father, Makena burns with passion for the mountains and climbing reckoning them her friends. When her parents are caught up in the Ebola outbreak on a mercy mission to Sierra Leone and die there, Makena’s world implodes into grief, loss of identity and homelessness. A spectacularly unsuccessful relocation to her paternal uncle’s poor home where his wife treats Makena as an unpaid servant ends abruptly and Makena finds herself fending for herself in the slums of Nairobi. Surviving like a gutter rat for a month or more, she is then swept up in a redevelopment which ruthlessly bulldozes the slums and she then finds herself rescued by a charitable organisation for girls and meets Helen. Just as Makena is recuperating from her trauma and a case of cholera, Helen has disappeared back to her parents’ home in Scotland and once again Makena feels herself abandoned. But unexpectedly, arrangements are made for the young girl to spend a month over Christmas in the wilds of Scotland. No spoilers here but suffice to say there is a happy ending for all.
This is just beautiful. It is warm and moving and oozes love despite the sadness threading throughout it. It is also somewhat mystical with the recurring motif of a special fox that seems to be akin to a guardian angel. There are lots of points of discussion; forgotten/orphaned children, civil war, rich vs poor, healing and the power of nature and love.
I read this in one sitting (well, lying down last night in bed) as I couldn’t put it down. Lauren St John’s books about Africa have been wildly popular in my library for the past year or so and my prediction is that this will be just as enthusiastically received.
Check out Lauren’s website here and the book trailer here.
Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards.
The upcoming anniversary of Enid Blyton’s birth prompted me to start preparing a display for the occasion – particularly as I thought the Faraway Tree also fitted so well with this year’s Book Week theme of Escape to Everywhere. The tree is pretty much ready as well as some Enid Blyton bunting, some vintage and new books, a vintage Famous Five card game (as it’s also the 70th anniversary of the FF) and even some Enid Blyton earrings 🙂 as well as my ‘dress up’. Pretty excited that after arriving at my new school I discover that this will be the theme for a very special Year 2 morning tea this term! Huzzah!!!!
Would love to hear what other people might be doing as well!