Reach by Hugh Brown


by Hugh Brown

A first novel by an up and coming New Zealand author.  It took me a while to settle in to this story, but once I did I wanted to know how it was going to work out.  I think about a third of the way into the book it found it’s stride.


Will is a typical teenager, with all the worries and insecurities that come with the territory. He is not popular and finds refuge in the books he reads.  He is in training for his first full-contact taekwondo fight.  He lives with his paternal grandparents, his Mum left years ago and his Dad  wasn’t coping with being a solo Dad.   The grandparents are sympathetically and realistically written and their voice is caring and consistent.

He has some friends at school, who he has been reluctant to invite into his personal life, but when Conway the girl of his dreams, starts spending time with him and his friends, things start to change.

His Mum returns from Australia, but hasn’t been to visit him.  His Grandfather ends up in hospital.  He thinks Conway is dating the school bully who has taken a liking to picking on Will.  This time escaping into a good book might not be a way out.

Set in New Zealand this story will appeal to students age 12+ and I would recommend to fans of Des Hunt.


Steel Pelicans by Des Hunt


Steel Pelicans by Des Hunt

New Zealand author alert!

Pelly’s family has lived in Auzzie since he was two. He has a best friend Dean and together they call themselves “The Steel Pelicans”. Dean has a obsession with homemade fireworks and things are getting more and more dangerous. Then Pelly’s Dad gets a job offer back home and the family move to south Auckland.
Pelly settles in well and meets Afi, they become good friends. They stumble upon a smuggling operation while staying at Afi’s bach and set about collecting evidence. Dean comes for a visit in the holidays and things heat up. Dean hasn’t stopped looking for things to blow up. Pelly soon realizes that there are limits to how far you can trust your friends.

Five stars for this well told adventure. Full of life experience, bullies, mystery, family life and danger. Another winner from Des, already very popular with his fans but winning more in my library.

Red Rocks by Rachael King

Red Rocks by Rachael KingSAM_8576

New Zealand author alert!

This book ticks all the boxes. A very clever take on the old Selkie legends of Scotland set in present times in Wellington.

Jake is staying with his Dad for two weeks in the summer holidays. Dad is busy writing a book so Jake goes off on his own. He finds a sealskin in a cave and takes it home, but doesn’t tell his Dad. The man living in a shack on the beach shows him kindness, yet Jake has been told never to trust strangers. A mysterious women befriends his Dad and thing quickly get out of hand. The local bully’s level of violence is escalating.

Two weeks go by fast in the summer, Jake is under pressure to sort things out before it’s too late.

Recommend age 10+ but it has what it takes to be an adult read.

The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson – Day 4

The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson

From Goodreads-
When Andy West’s parents get divorced, the plucky 10-year-old is left without a home to call her own. Both her parents have remarried, and Andy finds herself shuttling back and forth between their houses–one week with Mom and “Bill the Baboon,” one week with Dad and Carrie. Living out of a suitcase is tough, but having five new stepbrothers and sisters is even tougher.

Mrs Salter’s review-

This is the most popular book in my library for junior girls.  It has never failed to be a favorite and is especially good for those who ‘hate reading‘ it has a gateway for reading for pleasure.  

Andy has it tough, lucky she has a little stuffed bunny to come along with her as she changes houses each week.  She wants her life to go back to how it was when her parents live together with her, but since that’s not going to happen she feels doomed.  In a classic Jacqueline Wilson way things get bad, then worse then when all seems lost things resolve themselves but not in a predictable way.