The Middle of Nowhere

By Geraldine McCaughrean

2014 Young Quills Winner, 9-13s category

1. This is a beautifully-written book, the kind you need to read very slowly to absorb all the detailed descriptions and amazing images the carefully chosen words create in your head.  McCaughrean is a supremely skilled storyteller who transported us to the isolation of the Telegraph Station in the Australian outback and really helped us to feel what was life was like there in the nineteenth century.  The names especially helped to create a really special and vivid sense of place.  We loved the characters of Comity and Fred and felt that we came to understand far more about Aboriginal culture through the stories and myths Fred tells Comity to help her come to terms with her new reality after the tragic death of her mother.  The Australian outback with only the Wire for communication seems like such a different way of life to the one we are used to yet the worries of the characters remain the same:  family and friendship, and the importance of having the courage to stand up to prejudice and hate in order to defeat them.  Place and people somehow combine magically to create this unusual historical story which is like nothing we have ever read before.

By Cramlington Learning Village, Northumberland

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