Posts Tagged ‘Fleur Beale’

Lyla

Through my eyes. Natural Disaster Zones

By Fleur Beale

ISBN 9781760113780

Allen & Unwin

Shortlisted for the junior fiction awards in the 2018 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

On the 22nd of February 2011 thirteen year old Lyla is in the centre of town when an earthquake devastates the city of Christchurch. In town because of a teacher union meeting where secondary schools are closed, Lyla and her friends are faced with absolute terror as a massive earthquake thunders beneath their feet. The ground shakes so violently that buildings all around them tumble and fall with the frenzied force of the shaking. They separate in an effort to go home but Lyla gets caught up helping injured people and this is where we see how strong Lyla is as a character.

The novel focuses on the next few months and the impact of the continued aftershocks, damaged houses and day-to-day life living in a munted city.

It was a terrible time for the people of Christchurch and Canterbury and Fleur Beale has captured many of the issues people had to deal with or learn to overcome. Lyla is mature beyond her years and it is her family, friends and neighbours that become more important than things. Supporting each other, even the unlikable bully Matt is what matters most and it is these relationships which are the strength of the novel.

Lyla remains calm in the face of it all but eventually, she needs to confront the reality of everything she has been through and everything she has witnessed.

Having lived through every one of these earthquakes myself, this novel brought back a lot of memories and not all of them pleasant ones. A reminder that disasters often bring us closer together.

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I am Rebecca
By Fleur Beale

Random House NZ
ISBN 9781775535492

9781775535492

Some years ago I read Fleur Beale’s I am not Esther, a very deserving award winning novel, which still remains a favourite of mine. The sequel which can be read as a stand alone novel, is I am sure, bound to be another award winner.
I was hooked right from the start of this book. Life inside the religious group Children of the Faith is so alien to many people that its strict rules and regulations almost seem barbaric. Thirteen-year-old Rebecca and her twin sister Rachel have their lives totally controlled by the Elders and governed by Rules of the Faith. Everything is planned for them, including whom they are to marry when they turn sixteen. They must remain at all times subservient to men and to the Rules. Disobedience of the Rules could see them expelled from the group and be deemed dead to their families forever more. The fear of an eternity of Hell and damnation keeps them following the Rules, without question.
The story moves along smoothly allowing us more and more of an insight into Rebecca’s world. As the pivotal points came I couldn’t stop reading, I just had to find out what Rebecca was going to do and how she was going to cope. I loved watching her grow as a character but also felt very protective of her and her sister. Such is the power of Fleur Beale’s writing that the characters had become very real.
Do watch out for Mrs Lipscombe. I think everyone needs a Mrs Lipscombe in their lives.
This is a powerful story and quite honestly, a must read.

Speed Freak
By Fleur Beale

speed

Archie Barrington is a 15 year old race kart driver and a pretty good one at that. He lives for the sport; the speed, smells and sounds of the track. He wants to win big but he also knows in order to win, sometimes you have to lose. Enough wins and he could gain a sponsorship to race in the Internationals in Portugal. Losing to his main rival Craig is not part of his plans but Craig has no plans to lose either. Game on!
Mum moved out years ago – reputedly because of his racing so Archie knows there is often a price to pay for his racing. Dad is totally supportive but not so his father’s new partner, Erica who has just moved in with her son. In fact she hates it so much she tries to keep the painfully shy Felix away from anything to do with Archie and racing.
As with all Fleur Beale’s books the story is very well written , moves along smoothly with characters who ring true. The more I read, the more I felt myself liking Archie and wanting desperately for him to win.
This is a great read for the guys and girls who love speed and oily rags.