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Birthright – Tania Roxborogh

   Birthright completes the trilogy that began with Banquo’s son. Incredibly well researched into life at the time. I really like the continuation of the story of Macbeth, 9780143567783 and really

enjoyed Banquo’s son – but have found the second and third instalments a little ‘forced’.

If you like historical fiction – you will enjoy this.


White Lies – Witi Ihimaera and Dana Rotberg

ImageHave to say that I found this a fascinating read – for a number of reasons.

Firstly, Witi Ihimaera is well known for ‘updating’ the stories that he wrote as a younger author. White Lies falls into this category. The novella contains the original story Medicine Woman , plus Witi’s rewrite that the film currently playing is based upon.

As well as this the film script is included between the two versions of the story. Added are notes and comments by both the author and the film’s director – creating a fascinating look into the minds of both author and director – including the reasons behind the three alternative endings…..



Project Huia – Des Hunt

ImageDes Hunt writes almost exclusively for a young teen audience. He has a real formula – action, adventure with a NZ conservation and environmental flavour. Project Huia  is no different.

What if de-extinction was a real possibility? What if we could recreate the famed huia? What other possibilities could there be?

The story is one that most teens could relate to in some way, in a straightforward manner.The author creates an authentic view of small town NZ – of families struggling, of school-yard bullies who grown into bullying adults.

The story is written in a straightforward and engaging manner – most young teens would relate to and enjoy the story .

Into the river – Ted Dawe

  • 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.

Definitely a binto_the_river_N2ook for seniors as the language at times and some content, is at senior level.

You can read more about it here