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Tuesday, August 02, 2016

CBCA Shortlist Older Readers: Just Started Reading... In Between Days and Pause

Inbetween Days is by Vikki Wakefield. I've met Vikki. She was part of a group of writers who once visited my school when the State Library couldn't get enough bookings to run one of their Teen Booktalkers sessions and rang me to ask if I wanted to have them come to my school. It seemed a shame to waste the already-organised session. 

She spoke to the kids about her new novel - her first - and showed them some of the art she had done while writing it. It was a very good talk and the kids were borrowing that book for weeks afterwards.

Now she's on her third and I've just started reading it. I haven't read enough yet to know if I'll like it; I never did get past the first couple of chapters of her second novel, maybe I'd better try again. Sometimes - as I said in another post - there are books it takes ages to get into and then suddenly you finish them in an evening. 

I do like the way she has described a hot summer evening in a way that I recognise. And unlike another award-winning author I won't name here, she hasn't resorted to purple prose. 

Pause is by John Larkin, who is best known for his humorous books. It certainly starts off humorously enough, with Declan O'Malley, a teenager in a selective high school, with good friends, falling in love with Lisa Leong, a girl  he sees regularly on the train to school and being dared to approach her. And it is love, and she has a dragon of a mother who absolutely won't allow boys into her daughter's life and makes her attend a Christisn youth group without allowing any hanging around before or after her father drops her off and picks her up. Quite a challenge! 

But the mother is physically and emotionally abusive and when she catches the young lovers dating instead of her daughter attending Christian youth group, it's off to the old country to live with her aunt and Declan becomes a victim of depression and there's a sort of Sliding Doors story where he either does or doesn't throw himself under a train. There's even a bit of wry humour as he experiences his teeth being smashed and feels guilty because his parents paid so much for his braces. But there's nothing humorous about the depression that follows in the side of the story where he didn't throw himself to his death and the description of how it feels to be torn apart by a train is pretty gruesome. 

I've read about a quarter of the book. I do like it so far. If I can finish these two books soon enough, I will be in time for Book Week, at least for the Older Readers. 

Pity I won't be on time to finish the Younger Readers category, but I do love Soon and will be disappointed if it doesn't win. 

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