About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Into the Wilderness by Mandy Hager

With the tragedy this week of the shipwreck on Christmas Island claiming scores of lives of refugees it brought to mind Mandy Hager's book Into The Wilderness which was published this year by Random House. It is the second in the Blood of the Lamb series, set in the Pacific ocean miles from anywhere.
Into the Wilderness (Random House, 2010)
Marayam and her three companions set out for any island they can, just as long as it's far away from the tyranny of The Apostles of The Lamb, the cult who controlled their lives for so long. When they finally reach land they are confronted by the tragedy of genocide.
   Determined to find civilisation somewhere they set off again with tragic consequences. With their boat in tatters and beginning to sink, a ship intercepts them only to tell the companions that as refugees they're not welcome in the territories.
   Maryam resorts to desperate tactics to be saved and then finds herself in a refugee detention camp. This book is grim and confronting with little hope until the very last pages. And it makes you cry heaps...
   I found that just when things seemed bad for Maryam, they only got worse and worse again. Let's hope things come good in the third installment. I don't think it matters much if you haven't read The Crossing, book one in the series, because Hager fleshes out the backstory well with Maryam's gradual and profound loss of faith.
   This story is a terrific one for teenagers and a great one to start class discussions. The issues include refugees, discrimination, genocide and the availability of cheap medicine and medical aid for marginalised people. Come to think of it maybe a lot of adults and governments need to be thinking hard about these topics too.

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