by Lorraine Orman
As a NZ Young Adult fiction, Orman’s attention to detail sets the scene and makes it evident she has done her research. Ordinary conversations are just that, ordinary, and that’s what makes this story believable.
Educational? Definitely. I learned about ecology, mining in the West Coast, and how an eco-warrior protest group might try to prevent the establishment of another opencast coalmine. The smooth insertion of facts from the region’s history felt natural as we learned at newcomer, 16-year-old Skye’s, pace.
Skye’s emotions are honest and real. Josh’s are raw and true. These kids and their attitudes made me smile. Close attention to their personal details helps get the reader into the characters’ minds quickly. So these two teenage cousins meet for the first time, having recently found family neither knew existed. To unravel the newer secrets, Skye and Josh first have to unravel the old. And this is where Granddad comes in. But what is the real truth? All they discover is that things are not as they might think they are. It takes the old Granddad to bring life’s lessons into perspective. Skye finally finds what she thought she wanted so badly, only to see it too was shrouded in more lies.
Although the story didn’t end as I expected, it was still a satisfactory ending. Having said that, I still felt the ending drama fizzled out sooner than it needed to. Minor bloopers and irregularities are more noticeable in the second-half of this work but they don’t affect the pleasure of the read.
For both Y/A and older, it is an intriguing historical read. This work makes learning fun, and believable. As a history lesson, it is well written, well-paced, and well-plotted. Having read Jenny Pattrick’s ‘Denniston Rose’, I felt completely at home with Orman’s settings and smells.
Well done, Lorraine Orman!
Publisher: Ashmore Books (PO Box 679, Warkworth 0941, New Zealand; email email@example.com)
ISBN (EPUB): 978-0-473-23972-5; (Kindle): 978-0-473-23973-2
Available: Smashwords, Amazon and affiliates, Kobo Bookshop, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Paper Plus, Wheelers' Book Club (via their E-Platform) Price: $(US)4.99
A teachers’ resource kit is available at: http://www.story-go-round.net.nz/pdf/touchstone_teachersresourcekit.pdf