Good Reading : October 2007
younger readers word of mouth Cold Skin teven Herrick Albert Holding has just come home from the army at the end of the war, back to his wife and two sons, Eddie and Larry. Eddie is the elder, desperate to leave school and work in the mine, and besotted with beautiful Sally Holmes. Larry, intent on leaving school and Burruga as soon as he is fifteen, can’t take his eyes off Colleen O’Connor, Sally’s best friend. You could be forgiven for thinking this is going to be a teenage romance, but as you meet other characters you realise that the undercur rents in their lives are taking this story in a very different direction. Herrick is a master of novels in verse: each page with so few words but so well chosen. As you listen to each character speak, you are drawn into their mind and feel part of their life. Cold Skin is a must for mature teenagers. ★★★★★ Allen & Unwin $16.95 Reviewed by Merle Morcom Age guide 15+ Our Little Secret Allayne Webster Edwina at fourteen is ignorant of the world around her and the dangers it holds. Her relationship with her mother is non-existent, as church life takes up all her time. Edwina longs to be loved, and when the much older Tom, her father’s mate, makes advances towards her, she grasps at the opportunity to fulfil romantic fantasies. But Tom uses his friendship to coerce Edwina into physically submitting to his depraved demands. This is a confronting theme, revealing the way predators disguise themselves within families and friendships to bring down their prey, and the devastating, long-ter m effect sexual abuse has on the young and vulnerable. Good theme and flow, but with the credibility of the characters shadowed at times. ★★★ Omnibus $17.99 Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis Age guide 14+ Life on the Refrigerator Door Alice Kuipers Claire is 15, and her mother is so busy as an obstetrician and Claire with schoolwork and friends (and boyfriends) that mother and daughter communicate almost entirely by notes left for each other on the fridge door. At first I found this tech- nique a bit contrived, but as the story develops and sad events unfold it feels more and more natural and acceptable. I can heartily recommend this to all parents to buy for their teenage offspring. Girls in particular will get an insight into the feelings of embattled and helpless mothers – mothers as people, even. Because Claire’s mother develops breast cancer. And as everyone knows, doctors make the worst patients. This is a very quick read as there’s only one note per page. But be war ned: it’s also a full box of tissues read. ★★★★ Macmillan $24.95 Reviewed by Alison Pressley Age guide 13+ Emily Rodda, the queen of Australian children’s fantasy, embarks on her most exciting adventure yet, delivering a classic story that will be loved by children and parents alike, The Key to Rondo. ‘I hope people love this. I’ve never enjoyed writing a book so much.’ EMILY RODDA ‘Not just an enticing Christmas gift … a contemporary classic … a literary symphony …’ AUSTRALIAN BOOKSELLER & PUBLISHER RRP: $29.99 ISBN: 9781862917439 BY THE AUTHOR OF THE INTERNATIONALLY BESTSELLING DELTORA QUEST SERIES. T he day that Leo Zifkak became the owner of the music box, his life changed forever. Leo didn’t know this at the time. His heart didn’t miss a beat as he took the box from his mother and put it on his desk. He had no idea what he was holding in his hands.