Wednesday 15 January 2014

Jumping Fences

Jumping Fences by Karen Wood (Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $15.99
ISBN 978-1-74331-639-9
Reviewed by Ann Harth

Pieces of the puzzle are missing.

Zoe wakes up in a hospital bed after falling from her horse and can’t remember what happened. She had been mustering cattle with her boyfriend and best friend but, since her fall, neither of them will answer her calls. Adding to her confusion is the sudden interest of Josh, a “super serial nerd” and definitely not Zoe’s type.

Zoe’s problems are compounded by the fact that her family’s farm is in jeopardy. Cattle are disappearing and the missing stock from the day of Zoe’s fall is the last straw. If they can’t recover their livestock and find the culprit, they will have to sell. Zoe’s recent actions are causing her father to lose faith in her and he is threatening to send her to live with her mother in town. The solid existence she took for granted is threatened.

As snippets of her memory return, Zoe is faced with some painful truths about friendship, family and her own priorities.

Jumping Fences is a spirited novel aimed at 13-16 year olds. Many will be able to identify with Zoe as she struggles to make decisions about what – and who – is important to her. Loyalty and honesty play a large part in this story and the strength and wisdom that Zoe eventually finds will go a long way toward empowering the reader. Her realistic character growth drives the story toward a satisfying ending.

The writing in this book is clear and concise, flowing smoothly as it moves between the current situation and Zoe’s recovering memories. Mystery and romance is woven throughout the book as well as some surprising twists that will keep the reader riveted until the end.

Karen Wood is the mother of two and author of the popular Diamond Spirit books. She is mad about horses but is also a qualified horticulturalist with a degree in Communications. When not aiming for the teenaged audience, Karen writes bushwalking and gardening articles for various magazines and newspapers. She has a menagerie of animals on her small acreage in New South Wales and spends her free time with her children and horses.

Ann Harth is a published children's author, freelance editor, ghostwriter and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism. She loves to read and is committed to creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Art of Magic, is now available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

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