John Marsden is Australia's bestselling author for teenagers and a highly acclaimed picture book writer. His titles include Winter, The Head Book, The Boy You Brought Home and Millie. John Marsden lives at the Tye Estate, just outside of Melbourne, where he opened a school called Candlebark in January 2006. The school currently has 52 students, ranging from Prep to Year 7.
Gr 7 Up-The Australian ranch setting of this John Marsden title (Scholastic, 2002) is brought to life through Kate Hosking's excellent narration. She makes 16-year-old Winter introspective, analytical, temperamental, and conversational by turns, all with a Down Under accent that lends credence and appeal to the story. Orphaned at age four, Winter has lived in Canberra with her mother's distant step-sister and her husband, who developed no real connection to Winter. By acting out her game plan, Winter is finally able to return to the bush and Warriewood, the beloved cattle ranch to which she is sole heir. Once there, casual revelations about the circumstances of her parents' deaths intertwine with discoveries about the condition of the homeplace and ranch. Winter demonstrates her perseverance, perceptiveness, and steely resemblance to her legendary mother while setting matters right on the ranch and beginning to make friends in the district. Her discovery of a great-aunt about whom she knew nothing becomes the dominant puzzle and key to secrets of the past. Hosking paints Winter as both larger than life and down-to-earth at the same time, experiencing normal teenage crises in this rather exotic setting while handling major events in a mature manner. Reluctant readers, those looking for a strong female character, and listeners interested in this different way of life will be attracted to this title.-Jane P. Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High School, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In what PW called "an engrossing novel," a 16-year-old girl returns to her late parents' estate determined to solve the riddle of their death. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.