- Into the river is the latest winner of the NZ Post Children’s book awards.
Into the river is a gritty, disturbing view of the racism,sexism and violence that existed beneath the surface at a NZ boarding school. Te Arepa, who is from a small, rural town, is accepted as a scholarship student at a slick private school, and quickly learns that to survive in this new environment he must make his Maoridom ‘invisible’. While this may well have been the case at the time the novel was set, I felt the school section was somewhat contrived and the characters two dimensional. The first section of the novel is very believable – Te Arepa is the pride of his whanau. He carries the mana of his tribe – he is going to revitalise and rebuild – big expectations for a 15 yr old to carry.
Aimed at older teens, the content will be of interest – school boys’ angst; sport; cars and violence! Devon (the nickname the Te Arepa adopts at boarding school) finds it incredibly difficult to fit in and fulfill the aspirations of his tribe on his shoulders. As he struggles to deal with this he becomes more divorced from his true reality and heritage.
You can read more about it here