Compelling drama in which 17-year-old Ellis comes to terms with the meaning of death...Ellis is an ordinary 17-year-old; someone who's planning to finish school and go to university like any other teenager. The difference is that four months ago, his best friend Simon killed himself. Still - that was four months ago. Ellis has now 'got over it'. Except, of course, he hasn't. Returning to his home town, he gets drawn into a situation in which the 'old' Ellis would never have become embrangled. He gatecrashes a party and persuaded to 'rescue' two sisters - Ursa and Leo, driving them back to the Land of Smiles - the ex-motel where they live. From that moment on, nothing is the same again. The story is narrated hour-by-hour, as Ellis packs a life-time of experiences into the next twenty-four hours. Giving in to high spirits and booze, Ellis wakes next morning in a strange bed, with a stonking hangover and a shaven head! He learns that a child has been kidnapped, and is persuaded to help in her rescue...This is a bizarre, surreal and powerful novel in which the reader is taken on the same roller-coaster ride as Ellis.
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(129mm x 198mm x 10mm)
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Ellis meets up with reckless Jackie, who leads him to the Land-of-Smiles, a rundown former motel, filled with a motley selection of drifters and curious characters. Ursa, Leo and Fox are three sisters, coming to terms with a horrific past which colours their lives forever. Ellis is drawn to all three of them, but especially Leo, whose love for baby Shelley leads them all on a wild adventure to save her from confused and evil Christo. In this strangely compulsive novel, the reader meets dangerous, unforgettable characters living in a precarious present and trying to come to terms with their problems. Ellis wants to be an actor, but at 17 he still has to resolve his feelings towards his dead friend, Simon, whose sudden suicide has filtered through all his dreams. He needs to find his own personality and his own voice and, at the end of the novel, which takes place at breakneck speed in 24 hours, he has made a worthwhile beginning. Despite the eccentricities of the characters, the reader is moved by their vulnerability and Margaret Mahy's gritty description and unsentimental treatment of her theme and characters keep the reader gripped to the last line. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Margaret Mahy
Margaret Mahy was born in New Zealand and has loved telling stories all her life. She has published well over a hundred titles and won several major prizes and awards, including The Order of New Zealand, for her internationally-acclaimed contribution to children's literature. She has twice won the prestigious Carnegie Medal, (The Haunting, 1982, and The Changeover, 1984). Margaret lives in the South Island of New Zealand, in a house which she partially built herself, overlooking Governor's Bay.