Review Blog

Feb 23 2018

White Night by Ellie Marney

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760293550
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: Mystery and suspense. Diversity. Family relationships. Collectives. Environmental protection. Country life. "In Bo Mitchell's country town, a White Night light-show event has the potential to raise vital funds to save the skate park. And out of town, a girl from a secretive off-the-grid community called Garden of Eden has the potential to change the way Bo sees the world. But are there too many secrets in Eden?" (Publisher)
With problems looming at home with his father, Bo becomes increasingly drawn to Rory, the girl from the Garden of Eden commune, the members of which believe in being self-sufficient, growing their own food, recycling everything and refusing to use plastic. But some things about Ray, the mediator in the community, seem off as Bo becomes more involved in their life.
Bo is one of the most engaging male adolescents that I have read about for quite some time. He has a very caring relationship with Rory and although there are opportunities, he doesnt take advantage of her. Although things are strained at home with family secrets beginning to emerge, Marney shows a loving home life with rules that Bo respects. At school, things are hard for Rory as she tries to fit in, but Bo tries to help her out, while he struggles with deciding what courses he should do - play football or become a chef. Bo's friends too are very relatable, as they party by the creek and organise a White Night to make enough money to keep the skate park open.
Marney has written a cracking suspenseful story that keeps the reader engaged and wondering what will happen next. At the same time life in a small country town is explored and the reader will learn lots about how teens could organise to keep a community place as Sprog fights to save the skate park.
With its complex themes of sustainability, family relations and communal living as well as a tense plot, White Night could make an engaging class novel for older teens.
Pat Pledger

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