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Roland has everything a young man could wish for. So the fact that he committed a petty crime and that, somehow, one of his teachers knows about it is something he cannot explain. The teacher, Mr Hudson, uses this knowledge to blackmail Roland into befriending the school misfit -... read full description below.
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Description of this Book
Mindblowing new novel from multi-awardwinning author, Margaret Mahy. Roland has everything a young man could wish for -- good looks, enough money, a cool relationship with his mother, ready wit, intelligence, a sexy girlfriend, a perfect school record. So the fact that he committed a petty crime and that, somehow, one of his teachers knows about it is something he can hardly explain to himself, let alone anyone else. The teacher, Mr Hudson, uses this knowledge to blackmail Roland into befriending the school misfit -- Jess Ferret. The reason he gives is concern for her wellbeing, but even Roland finds this rather far-fetched. And when Jess doesn't respond to his confident advances, he becomes intrigued with the girl for his own reasons. Roland discovers Jess's dark secret and also finds that he has one of his own...
Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings
Winner of New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards: Senior Fiction 2003
||A prep-school boy blackmailed for shoplifting, a classmate involved in alchemy, and a vampiric magician collecting other people's powers are embroiled in a test of wills and powers that threatens their very lives. Quando the Magician, like Carmody Braque in Mahy's The Changeover (1988), wants to suck the life and power out of his victims to enhance his own power, and Roland Fairfield, age 17, is his pawn. Roland, initially only concerned with saving his relationship with his beautiful girlfriend and protecting his reputation as prefect at Crichton Academy, ends up falling in love with Jess Ferret, fighting evil forces, and learning something about friendship, family, and the value of everyday life. Jess lives by herself in a big, mysterious house frozen in time. An alchemist, but not the turn-lead-into-gold kind, Jess urges Roland to learn the alchemists' intuitive way of apprehending the everyday world-appreciating the ordinary, overlooked pleasures of colors, sounds, books, flowers, ice cream, and the lovely messiness of family life. Jess and Roland have powers not fully tested, and it is in their alliance that they are able to hold off Quando and, like alchemists, make something new out of their lives. The elements of Mahy's best young-adult novels are here-the supernatural presence, the young protagonists with untested powers, the tribute to love and everyday family life, and rich language-but too much is explained and the resolution is quick after a carefully developed plot. Still, as a tale with likable protagonists, a ghastly villain, and ghostly special effects, it offers a thrilling ride. (Fiction. YA) (Kirkus Reviews)
Margaret Mahy was born in New Zealand and has loved telling stories all her life. She has published well over a hundred titles and won several major prizes and awards, including The Order of New Zealand, for her internationally-acclaimed contribution to children's literature. She has twice won the prestigious Carnegie Medal, (The Haunting, 1982, and The Changeover, 1984). Margaret lives in the South Island of New Zealand, in a house which she partially built herself, overlooking Governor's Bay.