Across the Risen Sea
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
One might expect a good yarn from an author who’s recently chosen to live and work in a bus, travelling around Australia, and now settling in Western Australia. And Bren MacDibble, in her latest novel for middle grade readers, doesn’t disappoint. The novel is a lively, funny, cleverly crafted work that manages to tie together social responsibility, climate change and good old-fashioned piracy! Bold and resourceful Neoma lives on one of several islands formed by inundation of Australia’s east coast. (The semi-submerged corridor of high-rise buildings is eerily recognisable.) When the colonising Valley of the Sun people kidnap Neoma’s best friend Jaguar, she sails off to rescue him. The story is layered, with characters young and old, noble and gloriously wicked. There’s even an endearing crocodile, its conduct resolutely reptilian. The book’s message is that humanity’s survival hinges on our respect for Earth and all its species, on “living gently” as Neoma’s people say.