Zombie deer, dimensional rifts and a race to save an island from disaster – welcome to the world of The Rift, the newest offering from YA author Rachael Craw.
The Rift takes readers on an epic journey to Black Water Island, where Rangers guard the sacred Old Herd against the Rift, a mysterious natural phenomenon that poses a significant danger to the island and its inhabitants. Cal West is an apprentice Ranger, whose mission to save the island is interrupted by the return of former friend Meg Archer; both share a dark past. Read more
Levi’s War is a poignant, meticulously researched novel by Julie Thomas. Although part of the Horowitz Chronicles, it can be read as a stand-alone book, provided the reader is prepared to keep track of a tangled web of characters spanning three generations.
The book opens in London in 2017, in a backroom of the national archives, where, alongside high ranking military officials responsible for curating a memorial exhibit, we’re introduced to Levi Horowitz – more specifically, to a recording of Levi from 1945. On screen, he introduces himself: “my real name is Levi Horowitz and this is the story of my war. Read more
A J Ponder
Phantom Feather Press
Quest is a young adult fantasy adventure written by Wellington author A J Ponder and was published in 2018 by Phantom Feather Press. Ponder is most well-known for her first published book, Wizard’s Guide to Wellington.
Quest is the first book in the Sylvalla Chronicles. It tells the story of a teenage princess, in fictional Avondale, who goes on a quest with no plan, but tunnel vision and the dream of becoming a hero. With Princess Sylvalla gone, her father, the King, offers a reward for finding her.
Unfortunately, Dothie and Arrant see this as an opportunity to earn some money and go on a hunt to find her. Read more
Allen and Unwin
Rainfall is a young adult fiction book written by Ella West, first published by Allen and Unwin in 2018. Ella West is also the author of an award-winning book, Night Vision, which is also a mystery. The novel is set in Westport, New Zealand, between the Buller and Orowaiti rivers, where everyone knows everyone else, but nobody is quite who they seem. Jack and Annie are the main characters of the novel; a crime and mystery book with a touch of romance in this small-town setting. I would recommend this book to those aged 13 to 16 who are horse lovers and love mysteries with blossoming romances. Read more
Helen Vivienne Fletcher
Underwater, by Helen Vivienne Fletcher, is an interesting read, but definitely not what I expected when I first found the book. This book is set from Bailey’s – the main protagonist’s – point of view and shows her experience at Pine Hills Resort. Pine Hills Resort – which is somewhere in New Zealand – is described as not being the kind of place where anyone can keep anything hidden at all. This is worrying for Bailey, because she has a lot of secrets and a lot of scars, all of which she’d like to keep hidden. Read more
Kate de Goldi
Sanctuary is both a heart-warming and heart-breaking story of first love, family and grief.
Written in the first person, Sanctuary is narrated by the fiery and sarcastic Catriona, whose distinct voice and dry humour perfectly convey the essence of what it means to be a teenager today. Catriona’s sarcastic and often hurtful remarks, like “one crybaby in the house is enough”, reveal a deeply flawed and complex character. It’s Catriona and Kate De Goldi’s other realistic characters who are the highlight of this book. All the characters have distinct personality traits which will remind the reader of someone they know who is exactly the same and, as a result, the characters come alive on the page. Read more
Restoration Day, by Deborah Makarios, is a fantasy novel set in the nation of Arcelia. It follows princess Lily, a completely useless girl who can’t traverse stairs without help, as she escapes from her safe haven and travels out into the world. Restoration Day is disturbingly predictable. It follows so many clichés and uses so many crutches that I felt I knew what was going to happen as soon as I started reading, and I did.
Lily is trapped in a castle for reasons neither she nor the reader is given. She believes her parents died winning a war 18 years ago, and never receives any human contact except for her guardians. Read more
Allen & Unwin
Lyla is a book written in raw truth. The story begins in a world of homework and the normal everyday life of a young school girl 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. Read more