An eco-conscious Kiwi tale, Nell Mace-David
September 9, 2022
‘The dolphin didn’t follow but Becky couldn’t shake the strange feeling that it wanted to show her something.’
In Just Keep Going by Donna Blaber, Becky has just come to New Zealand from the UK, in the midst of the pandemic. Her mum has so far been unable to get a spot in Managed Isolation and quarantine (MIQ), so for now, Becky is on her own, besides her dad, stepmother Deidre, and annoying baby brother Ben of course. And, on top of that, Becky’s new windsurfer is taking ages to arrive. With New Zealand plummeting back into another lockdown, could things get any worse?
One day, on a beach walk, Becky finds an obsidian stone. Thinking it looks nice, she takes it home. She starts school, and is bombarded with questions by a group of girls who saw her pick up the stone. It is a bit weird, but maybe they are just really interested in geology. Strange rock questions or not, it looks like Becky has made some friends.
Things start to look up with the windsurfer also. Her new neighbor, Ivy, has one that used to be her son’s, and she has said that Becky can borrow it. Maybe New Zealand isn’t so bad after all. If only her mum could get a spot in MIQ, then everything would be near perfect.
Out on a windsurf, Becky spots a dolphin. She’s never seen one before and is fascinated, but this one seems to be acting strange. It pops up every time she’s out on the water, and it kind of seems like it wants to tell her something. Maybe it has something to do with the strange boat that she keeps seeing, or the illegal fishing nets that have been set around the bay. Can Becky figure out what the dolphin wants, and what the obsidian has to do with all of this, before it’s too late?
Blaber has written a relatable book that sheds light on real issues in our everyday world, yet still manages to add a mythical touch to the story.
This story was a nice, easy read. Things happened quickly, as you would expect in a shorter book, and it meant that there wasn’t never-ending detail to hamper the action. The plot wasn’t very complicated, but it just means that this book is accessible to others as well.
To me, the main character just wasn’t someone that I resonated with. I think she needed a little more depth, and a little less complaining, to make me really feel for her. Though Becky wasn’t really my kind of character, she had what are probably some common issues during these times, so I’m sure there is someone out there who can relate to her.
What I did love though was that the issue of rubbish polluting our oceans and affecting wildlife really took center stage. Building awareness about that sort of thing is so important, and the fact that the writing made it so everyone could read about these issues was great. I also liked that dolphins were a prominent feature. I think dolphins are amazing creatures, and I would love to see one in its natural environment one day, just like Becky did.
In closing, maybe this book wasn’t perfect for me, but it definitely talked about some important issues, and was an interesting read. I would recommend this book to ages 10 and up, but really just anyone who wants a short, easy read, with a focus on adventure and New Zealand wildlife. Happy reading!
- Nell is 14, home-schooled, and lives in Dunedin