Wednesday, 23 March 2011

To Die For

To Die For by Mark Svendsen (Random House)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 978-1-8647-1931-4
Reviewed by Oliver Phommavanh

To Die For is a novel for teenage readers that takes you deep into the world of Christos, a fishing nut. His fourteenth birthday present is a chance to take his dad’s dory out for a trip. It turns out to be Christos’s longest night of his life when his dory gets caught in a reef and he faces a shark that constantly stalks him. Christos is trapped as he works out a strategy to ward off the shark and escape.

This is an interesting narrative, mainly because there is only Christos for most of the story. Svendsen has cleverly inserted other characters through voices and flashbacks in his head. Even the dory becomes a mini character. Christos also talks to himself and this internal dialogue carries the story along. There are heaps of italics to represent his thought processes. Once you get used to this style, it’ll read at a rapid pace.

Svendsen captures the voice of an independent teenager well. He wants to make his parents proud, get the girl of his dreams and revels in his little freedom. When his life is in danger, you get a real sense of what is really important to him. Svendsen tackles the fishing terms with ease, so readers will learn a thing or two.  

To Die For is a great story of self-discovery and survival. Recommended for ages 13 and up.  

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