Blog Archives

Responsible writing

Writer Fleur Beale considers what’s difficult and desirable in books for YA readers.

The answer to the question of what responsibility writers may or may not have to their teenage readers in essence for me is to write a damn good, emotionally true story. Part of the difficulty of pinning it more precisely lies in the fact that a teenage audience includes such a wide spectrum of maturity and experience that a book resonating with one reader might be something a different reader would not even consider looking at. 

See more ›

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Comment

Almost too true, Aleksia Drain

Lyla
Fleur Beale
Allen and Unwin, $19.00,
ISBN 9781760113780 

Lyla is a book written in raw truth. The story begins in a world of homework and the normal everyday life of a young schoolgirl named Lyla. She attends Avonside Girls’ High School and lives happily in the city of Christchurch. But then disaster strikes: an earthquake shakes the lives of every Christchurch citizen, turning us upside down into chaos. This book reveals the truth of the February Christchurch earthquake, the loss people faced, and the terrible things we saw. It brings a reader out of their world of media and newspapers and reveals the personal terrors one faced in that horrific time. 

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Review, Young adults

The challenge of being, Tatjana Schaefer

The Falconer’s Daughter N K Ashworth RSVP, $25.00 ISBN 9780987658760 Being Magdalene Fleur Beale Random House, $20.00 ISBN 9781775537670 It almost goes without saying that novels for the young adult or teen reader are about the quest for personal identity.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Review, Young adults

Dark places, Margie Michael

The Children’s Pond
Tina Shaw
Pointer Press, $30.00, ISBN 9780473274023

The Faceless
Vanda Symon
Penguin Books, $30.00, ISBN 9780143567202

I am Rebecca
Fleur Beale
Random House, $20.00, ISBN 9781775535492

These books form a disparate collection apparently linked only by the words “compelling” and “thriller” appearing on the dustjackets of each, words which mislead and possibly confuse rather than inform. All three do have an element of suspense, and so become thrillers in the broadest sense, but the real link is that they are totally compelling in very different ways. Jennifer Lawn has identified New Zealand’s burgeoning crime scene, noting that our crime writers use fully realised local settings with confidence and it is, in part, the development of the settings which unites these three books.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

A lot to live up to, Caoilinn Hughes

When Our Jack Went to War  Sandy McKay Longacre, $20.00, ISBN 9781775533092 Brave Company David Hill Puffin, $20.00, ISBN 9780143307570 Speed Freak Fleur Beale Random House, $20.00, ISBN 9781775534709 When Our Jack Went to War is “a fictional story based

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Children, Literature, Review, Young adults

Myth making, Angelina Sbroma

The Enchanted Flute James Norcliffe Longacre, $20.00, ISBN 9781869799267   Heart of Danger Fleur Beale Random House, $20.00, ISBN 9781869795436   In The Enchanted Flute, James Norcliffe (author of the celebrated Loblolly Boy series) makes classical myth the source and

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Review, Young adults

Grappling with the world, Jill Holt

Dirt Bomb Fleur Beale Random House, $19.95, ISBN 9781869795467   The Bridge Jane Higgins The Text Publishing Company, $26.00, ISBN 9781921758331   Calling the Gods  Jack Lasenby HarperCollins, $24.99, ISBN 9781869509484   These three novels shortlisted for the senior fiction

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Review, Young adults

Thoughtful thrills, Jill Holt

Fierce September Fleur Beale Random House, $19.99, ISBN 9781869793289 Guardian of the Dead  Karen Healey Allen & Unwin, $19.99, ISBN 9781741758801 Resurrection  Mandy Hager Random House, $19.99, ISBN 9781869795221   When do young people have the chance to engage in

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Review, Young adults

Back in Gloriavale, Susan Pearce

Sins of the Fathers: The Long Shadow of a Religious Cult Fleur Beale Longacre Press, $29.99, ISBN 9781877460302 At 27 Philip Cooper left the conservative Christian community ruled by his bullying, monomaniacal father, Neville Cooper. He left behind his wife

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

Brave new worlds, Joan de Hamel

The Tomorrow Code Brian Falkner   Walker Books, $19.99, ISBN 781921150340 Juno of Taris Fleur Beale    Random House, $18.99, ISBN 781869419882 About Griffen’s Heart  Tina Shaw   Longacre Press, $19.99, ISBN 87746015 Chronicles of Stone: Scorched Bone Vincent Ford 

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Children, Literature, Review
Search by category
Recent issues: subscriber-only access

Subscribe to NZ Books to access the issues above