Tag Archives: Blended families

The Year the Maps Changed – Danielle Binks

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Hachette Australia

APR 28, 2020 | 9780734419712 | RRP $17.99

What a glorious book with so much richness as it reveals not only a tragic episode in recent history but explores the pain but beautiful bonding in a family and community.

1999 in Sorrento is a difficult time for Fred (Winifred). Her mother died when she was very little and since then she’s lived with her adoptive dad Luca and her Pop but now everything is changing and not for the best. Pop has had to go away for a while into a rehab/nursing home and Luca’s new girlfriend and her son, slightly younger than Fred, move in. To add to that distress, and her ever-present grief, as Fred struggles to re-adjust to the changing dynamic, Luca and Annika announce that they are having a baby.

For Fred it seems like the end of everything and not even her life-long friends can help to make her feel better about the whole situation. Then a major upheaval for their small community brings unexpected connections, dramas and emotional situations which ultimately bring not only Fred’s family back into focus and closeness but forces the entire country to re-evaluate their beliefs and values.

A group of Kosovar-Albanian refugees fleeing the deadly warfare in their splintered country are brought to a centre near Sorrento in an humanitarian exercise that the then government referred to as “Operation Safe Haven”. While there are many whose compassion is extended to these displaced persons there is division within the community. Fatefully the lives of the refugees, a few in particular, become entwined with Fred and her family testing the boundaries of family trust but ultimately bringing this very different blended family into a stronger bond.

Beautifully – indeed, exquisitely- written Danielle Binks provides the reader with not only an understanding of the largest humanitarian effort provided by Australia and it’s less than humanitarian outcome but also an insight into a family’s own personal tragedy and their journey to becoming a whole.

This is a coming-of-age story that will appeal greatly to readers from around 12 years upwards as Fred deals with the immense changes in her life. These same readers will also be exercised in their own compassion and empathy which, in light of recent events, can only be a good thing.

Highly recommended for your readers in upper primary to secondary.

I Knew You Were Trouble A Jessie Jefferson Novel By Paige Toon

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  • i-knew-you-were-trouble-9781471118807_hrSimon & Schuster Children’s UK |
  • 336 pages |
  • ISBN 9781471118807 |
  • November 2015

List Price

AU$ 16.99

NZ$ 18.99

 

The second in a series this is a light read for your senior girl readers. Full to the brim of parties, jetset lifestyles, rock and roll and hot boys this will appeal to girls from around 15 up.

Jessie Pickerill has had a very ordinary life so far, living with her mother and stepfather, going to school, gossiping about boys – all the normal things. But since her mother died in a freak accident, she has discovered the truth about her real father who is none other than Johnny Jefferson, possibly the most famous rock god of them all.

After a six week stay in L.A. experiencing life with her father, his wife and two little boys not to mention some exciting new friends, especially a certain young up-and-coming rocker called Jack, Jessie is attempting to settle back into her regular life while trying to keep the secret of her true parentage.

A visit to England from her dad and his family sees that secret blown apart becoming a media frenzy and Jessie needs to get away from school, her home and stepfather and new boyfriend, Tom. Can she sustain her home relationships while living in L.A. till the storm blows over? Which place will she decide is her true home? And which boy will she choose?

A holiday read for your older girls who might be looking for some escapist respite from assessments and assignments.