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  • Writer's pictureSandy

Across the Risen Sea, by Bren MacDibble

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

I love this beautifully crafted middle grade novel not only for its story of adventure and mystery, but also for its compelling, unique female protagonist, Neoma, who shines a light on the ways in which girls can be strong, funny, smart and courageous.

In this post-climate change narrative, Neoma finds herself sailing across the risen sea, her only passenger a hungry crocodile. Her mission is to rescue her best friend Jag from the people of the Valley of the Sun, whose presence has disrupted the gentle lives of her community.

Young readers will race through this book in a quest to uncover why the People of the Valley of the Sun have come to Neoma's small peaceful island, and what is the strange new technology they have erected there? Neoma knows there are secrets to uncover and she bravely sets out on a quest to expose the truth and rescue her friend.

Neoma describes herself as a ‘doer’ -and she certainly is that, displaying courage, initiative and daring. She is not afraid to speak up – even when she knows that doing so may place her in danger. She also displays a fierce loyalty to her best friend Jag , jumping on a boat and encountering crocodiles, sharks and pirates as she embarks on her solo rescue mission.

This is a story of adventure and survival, which shines a light on issues of climate change and the importance of caring for our planet and treading a light footprint.

I love the warm colloquial voice in which this story is told - it is distinctive and compelling, and effectively conveys Neoma's personality and background.

Although there are many dangers out at sea - including hungry snapping crocs, sharks with great gnashing teeth, and truly terrifying pirates - there are also new friends to be made. Themes of friendship and loyalty are the beating heart of this action-packed, addictive read.

Published 2020 by Allen & Unwin



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