Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Angel Creek

Angel Creek by Sally Rippin (Text Publishing)
ISBN 9781921758058
PB RRP $16.95
Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

Angel Creek is a story about what happens to a girl named Jelly the summer before she starts secondary school. It's about magical discoveries, secrets from family and the awareness that growing up is just around the corner. This book should appeal to 8-12 year old girls as well as some boys of this age.

The story begins just before Christmas when Jelly and her cousins find a baby angel by the creek behind Jelly's new house. They decide to keep it and hide it, not telling anyone else. This is when things start to go wrong. Jelly's Nonna goes to hospital and then the baby cousin gets sick. Is this all just a coincidence or does it have something to do with the angel?

At the centre of the story is Jelly, an admirable character who isn't scared of much. She still climbs trees and scrapes her knees but she is aware of Spook, a boy who will be going to her new school. The story switches smoothly between the otherworldliness of the angel to Jelly's everyday life. There's a dramatic climax, then a satisfying ending that pleasingly doesn't feel the need to explain absolutely everything.  

With an ethereal cover (by WH Chong) and angel's wings at the start of each chapter, the supernatural theme is strong and appealing for young people this age. Angel Creek is an imaginative and assured move into writing for older children by Sally Rippin

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