Kat’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
***I voluntarily reviewed a Copy of this book this is my honest review & I thank the Author and publishers Harper Collins NZ for a great read***
This is the first ever Jackie French book I have read, but the cover just drew me in, I love this cover, the colours, the expression on the girls face and the red dusty rural Australian backdrop just made me want to read it, the blurb drew me in further, so the publishing team get 5 stars for such a good job.
This is a historical fiction, ok 1975 is not too many people historical fiction (its my childhood), but to a 13 year old today, it will definitely seem ancient!
So what did I think – I feel that this book was an ‘enlightening and very grown-up book’, which is funny as this is a teen book, but maybe that is why I feel I now understand a little more about why politics never seem to change, the authors characters and their experiences showed me not only far the world has come while I was growing up, but how nothing much has changed in the way of politics, and also how hard it must have been living in Australia if you were not White and Male.
This captivating story, gives the reader a window into the lives of the characters, in an eloquent but easy to digest way.
This book is the 6th book in this series, (for information on the others see the authors website) and in the way its sort of Matilda’s last book… or is it?
The main characters in the book are Jed who is introduced in the 5th book The Ghost by the Billabong Scarlett, her wheelchair bound adopted sister and Matilda, the awesome matriarch – I hope i get to be as awesome as she was when I am old and grey. And Leafsong, the mute who along with Scarlet starts on the path of adulthood in the turbulent political events that happened from 1972 to 1975 – I did a fair amount of researching while reading, growing up in the UK I certainly didn’t feel that my mother or aunts had such a stilted life that Australia seemed to have.
This novel is a symbolic reflection of a poem ‘Freedom on the Wallaby’ by Henry Lawson, I also found the full poem while reading it, and I guess that is what is great about reading this book – It inspired me to learn more, and what more could you want when looking for a book, for your teen to read?
I also love the mysticism in this book, the Aboriginal and the Aliens too, Chapter 91 was a favourite :D, I love Aliens, I am a Sci-fi fan, love anything mystical or paranormal and I love unusual characters, maybe that is why Leafsong was and still is my favourite character, Matilda was my second favourite.
I laughed and cried and read nervously as the 11th November came around, wondering whether Ra Zacharia would succeed. Who is he, well I suggest you grab a copy of the book, or better yet go source the others and read them in order. – I am going to do just that, and a few others that have taken my fancy that Ms. French has written.
This book is aimed at the TEEN market, but I would have never guessed it if I had not known. Any adult who loves fiction that is based on true events will fall in love with this author, I certainly will be reading many more of Ms. French’s titles.
The flow and beauty of the words, the characters who become real as you experience their journey through the years, I have truly loved reading this captivating book. #Top2017read.
My writing career spans 25 years, 148 wombats, over 140 books, 36 languages, 3,721 bush rats, and over 60 awards in Australia and overseas.
I wrote my first children’s book `Rainstones’ in a desperate attempt to earn $106.40 to register the car; while living in a shed with a wallaby called Fred, a black snake called Gladys and a wombat called Smudge. The editor at HarperCollins said it was the messiest, worst spelt manuscript they’d ever received. The mess was because Smudge the wombat left his droppings on the typewriter every night. The spelling was because I am dyslexic. I would recommend all beginning writers misspell their first book so it stands out of the pile.