Drawing characters together through adventure, Caitlin Fuldseth
03 March, 2021
I chose the book Cuz By Liz Van Der Laarse because I felt that the description was interesting and the cover looked cool. I found the book a bit hard to get into at the start, but I found that I really enjoyed it after the first few chapters.
I liked that the book included so much about Māori culture and had a glossary at the back of the book so when I came across a word or sentence that I haven’t come across before I could just look it up at the back and continue reading.
One of the main reasons that I kept on reading was because of the characters, River and Huia. River is a teenage boy who is of Māori descent, although he doesn’t know anything about his culture as his father abandoned him at a young age. He wants to learn but can’t because his mum is not Māori and because of this he feels as if he is missing out on everything, and this is the reason he has always resented his cousin Huia.
Huia is River’s cousin and she has grown up learning about their culture. She knows everything about everything. She knows their past, where they came from and their entire way of life. She is strong and independent and completely family-oriented.
I loved all of the lessons that Huia gave River on berries, plants, leaves, weaving and birds. I thought it was really sad that Huia got injured at the start but I also liked that it happened because it gave Huia the chance to teach River about their culture and do the hunting, picking of the food and really just learn about everything which was great because that was what River wanted. Along with River learning about their culture I was also able to learn a few things which was really exciting.
I loved reading about River and Huia because at the start of the book they were really distant but as the book went on I was able to read about all the little things that they did which made them closer than ever. One of my favourites being this part: “Huia screamed. Water hurled around her, knocking her off-balance. She slipped beneath the surface. ‘Huia!’ River watched in disbelief as she swept downstream, her head disappearing and reappearing… River leapt forward, fighting the current as he staggered across the channel, swearing angrily at the slippery rocks and rushing water.”
I was really sad that Huia was hurt again but I felt that this was one of the first of many things that brought the two cousins closer together as he jumped in the overflowing and strong pushing current in the river after Huia to save her.
I really loved this book once I got through the first few chapters and I can honestly say that I would recommend it to friends and family because it has some very good lessons to be learned.
This book is going to be one of the books I write about for my reading responses at school as it has many important themes in it. Liz Van Der Laarse has a nice writing style and I would love to see if she has any other books for me to read.
- Caitlin is 16 and lives in Palmerston North.