Catching my breath

I found a book that swallowed me whole. It was fantastic – just like free-falling. Penni Russon‘s ‘Drift’ was a breath-taking finale to her Undine trilogy. I couldn’t put it down which was exactly the sort of tonic I was looking for after a heavy week of reading reference materials.

I also had a lot of fun with Catherine Bateson’s book ‘Being Bee’. It’s on this year’s CBCA Award shortlist with good reason. It was sharp and funny and touching without being sentimental. I liked Bee, the main character. Bee has to come to terms with her father introducing a ‘step-mother’ into her life. It’s a difficult time in any kid (or adult’s) life and a tough subject to write about without characters becoming cliched.

I almost can’t be bothered mentioning that I read Elizabeth Buchan’s ‘The Second Wife’ which is an adult book but it confirms that adult literature has no monopoly on good prose. It was clunky and unbelievable and I was cross I’d wasted my time. As a modern tale of second families, it wasn’t a patch on the charming ‘Being Bee’. There’s no question that Bateson is the better writer.

‘Layla, Queen of Hearts’ is also on the shortlist and was a sweet sequel to Glenda Millard’s earlier book ‘The Naming of Tishkin Silk’. I don’t usually go for this style of warm and fuzzy feel-good story but Millard does it so well and her prose is lovely.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Books are windows into other ways of being.”

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