Saturday, April 5, 2014

New Zealand Australian author's latest book

Dying to Tell Me by Sherryl Clark (Sherryl Clark)

I didn't want to sit in the front seat of our car - that's where Mum always sat - but Dad was pleading.
"Please, Sasha," he said. His voice caught, and he cleared his throat. "We promised a new start."
His face was so creased with sadness that I couldn't say no. I forced my foot and then my leg into the car and slid onto the dusty blue seat, yanking at the seatbelt. My hatred for Mum burned through me all over again.
"Bye, house," Nicky said, waving out the back window at the familiar cream weatherboard we'd lived in all our lives. I refused to look back."

Sasha, her brother and father are making a fresh start in small town Manna Creek. It is a chance to put behind trouble at school for Sasha, and the grief over their mother leaving home. Life looks like it is going to be dead boring until they're given King an ex police dog; a German Shepherd that speaks telepathically with Sasha. Sasha's life can't get more weird - only it does, it is not the only queer thing she can do - and she'll need all those skills and more to solve the mystery from the past and in the future - their lives depend on it.

This is a coming of age story about a young troubled teen. Sasha has bucket loads of anger towards her parents for upsetting her life but over the course of the story her character resolves personal issues and the book demonstrates how broken families can mend. Teenagers will want to read until the last page; they will have connected with Sasha's character and will want to know whether her family makes it out safely.  This is not a paranormal book - it's about a girl who experiences premonitions and communicates telepathically. There haven't been many books with this slant - it is refreshing - and a great crime novel for 10-14 year olds.

Available through Wheelers Books in New Zealand, Booktopia in Australia.

Read an interview with Sherryl Clark here

Teaching Notes

Sherryl Clark was born in New Zealand but went to live in Melbourne, Australia when 25 years old and settled there. She has written over 55 children's books and when she isn't writing she is teaching aspiring writers at Victoria University. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts at Hamline University, USA,  specialising in writing for children and young adults in 2013. Many of her books have won awards including the Premier's Literary Award in 2005 for Farm Kid, and Honour Book in the 2008 CBCA Awards for Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!).  Visit her website: www.sherrylclark.com

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