The Rift has been nominated for Best Young Adult Fiction in the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Up against some stiff competition and some very talented authors, this years line-up will be tough to judge!
I have been a fan of Rachael Craw since reading her first YA trilogy Spark, Shield and Stray. She gets bonus points for living in the South Island! Another thing I love about Rachael is her engagement with her readers on social media. I once spotted a typo in her book and messaged her to let her know and she got right back to me letting me know that it was some weird turn of phrase that she had the exact same debate with her editor about.
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***Spark’s 5th Birthday Instagram Giveaway!!!*** ?⚡️❤️⚡️?⚡️?⚡️❤️⚡️?⚡️?⚡️❤️⚡️? It’s time to celebrate!!! Thanks to my wonderful publisher @walkerbooksaus we have 5 signed sets of the Spark trilogy to giveaway!!! ?⚡️❤️⚡️?⚡️?⚡️❤️⚡️?⚡️?⚡️❤️⚡️? To be in to win: *Be a resident of Australia or New Zealand. *Subscribe to my newsletter- link in bio (if you've already subscribed jump to the next step.) *Follow me on Instagram!!! *❤️ the Spark's 5th Birthday promo post *Tag a friend. *Tell me what your ultimate "genetically engineered" gift would be eg. telepathy, epic reflexes, precognition, strength etc and why. *Be willing to post a shelfie of your winning prize (if you're the lucky winner!) *Boom! You're in the draw to win one of 5 signed sets of the Spark trilogy, (worth more than $60 + postage and packaging)! Sweet deal! ⚡️ *Winners announced on July 1st (BIRTHDAY!!) via newsletter with instructions for receiving your prize!?⚡️❤️⚡️?⚡️?⚡️❤️⚡️?⚡️?⚡️❤️⚡️? #lovenzya #spark #stray #shield #sparkarmy #walkerbooksaus #birthday #celebration #giveaway #authorsofinstagram #youngadultbooks #yascifi #geneticengineering #asskicking #bestfriends #firstlove #twins #familydrama #highschool #killer #thriller #mystery #action #romance #scifi #kissingbook, opens a new window
When The Rift was published I was quick to read it and I can definitely understand why it was nominated. It is a YA fantasy novel set on Black Water Island. The island is laced with magical ley lines and is home to the Old Herd, deer whose horns have amazing healing powers and can communicate to the Rangers who protect them, through telepathy. These Rangers live on the island and ensure that none of the ancient Old Herd are hurt by Rift Hounds, otherworldly demon dogs who can only be seen by those who have Rift Sight. These hounds appear when the moon is full and the Rift on the island opens.
Cal is an apprentice Ranger who has an unusual set of powers that came about from a Hound bite when he was young. Meg was injured at the same time as Cal but has lived on the Mainland until recently. As Meg returns, tensions arise from the Head Ranger's dealings with Nutris - a pharmaceutical company trying to capitalize on the powerful deer horn. Meg has always wanted to be a Ranger but has no training, Cal is being pushed into something he doesn't want, and Meg and Cal have a connection that is more than electric. They must work through physical and psychological wounds to save the Head Ranger and the Old Herd as the Rift opens for its most dangerous time yet.
This novel dives straight into the intricacies of Black Water Island and the first third of the book feels like you are running to catch up with the story. The world is well constructed and conjures beautiful imagery of New Zealand-esque scenery - with thermal pools and a rugged, harsh landscape. The fantasy-side of the story takes a little to get your head around, but it doesn't make it any less mind-blowing. As I read the book, I was transported to the island and I could clearly see everything in my mind. It takes a great wordsmith to bring a world to life, and Rachael does this so well.
I loved the characters of Meg and Cal. They are both so intense and physically and mentally scarred which creates a broody mood that is eased by Meg's humour and quick wit. Meg is a great female lead who isn't afraid to get dirty and shows plenty of courage. There is a bit of PG romance that compliments the intense action plot well. The novel really ramps up on the tension-scale and has some great twists that surprised me. I did feel that one of the major plot lines was left unresolved but I can forgive that. Even if you think the fantasy elements are a little 'out there' I encourage you to give this novel a go.
- Ash Arising Mandy Hager, published by Penguin, Penguin Random House
- Children of the Furnace Brin Murray, published by CP Books, The Copy Press
- Invisibly Breathing Eileen Merriman, published by Penguin, Penguin Random House
- Legacy Whiti Hereaka, published by Huia Publishers
- The Rift Rachael Craw, published by Walker Books Australia
Another of the nominations is a beautifully illustrated children's book called Ko Mauao Te Maunga. This book is special to me as it connects me to my hometown and it was illustrated by a family friend. Debbie Tipuna uses bold illustrations that really personify the landforms.
The Stolen Stars of Matariki is another nomination which I have read with my daughter and she loved the incorporation of te reo Māori within the story, as well as the creative and fun storyline. The cheeky patupaiarehe (fairy-like beings) have stolen two stars from the sky!