Futuristic dystopian girls on islands …

Cover of Ebony HillIn the world of NZ young adult fiction, there seems to be a bit of a common theme – future dystopias involving girls trapped (and escaping) from islands.

This year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards’ young adult finalists include two such titles: Ebony Hill and Fierce September.

Both these books are sequels – because I hadn’t read The Sea-Wreak Stranger, I tried it first before reading Ebony Hill – back to back on a rainy Sunday. They are those kind of books – the ones that you can’t put down and merely grunt at your partner when he presents you with a cup of tea.

cover of Fierce SeptemberFierce September the sequel to Juno of Taris – a finalist in the 2009 awards. I read it a while back and is another great book. I will find it hard to choose between it and Ebony Hill.

Both books are set in a near future where (mis)use of technology has caused planetary-wide devastation and the feisty non-conforming heroines escape from a small island run by corrupt rulers.  In both books they find an outside world also suffering from problems and corruption.

Last year The Crossing (where a feisty young heroine in near-future dystopia escapes from a Pacific island) won the award. The sequel, Into The Wilderness, has not been nominated, but the finale – Resurrection is already in the library. This is a far darker trilogy – the horrors of the island are more extreme – but in my opinion an even better read than this year’s nominees.

So far I am going to be at a loss to make a choice, but there are three more nominated titles to read:

The awards ceremony is on the 18 May and children can vote for their own favourite, the Children’s Choice Award.

P.S. Another book with this theme – Exodus – is not a NZ title but possibly my favourite of all.

Rebuilding Christchurch – Your voice

book coverAll sorts of people are popping up with ideas about the “new” Christchurch. Some are local, some are national and some are international commentators. As a resident and citizen of Christchurch you might  still be in the stunned mullet stage of coming to grips with the new normal. But if you are already thinking about what you want to see happen in your city there are a number of places where you can  share ideas.

One of the casualties of the quake was the Before After lecture series and display at the Christchurch Art Gallery but still has some interesting  ideas and comments.

If you want to do some reading check out our Urban Design resources. If you are thinking about what kind of houses we might build then I think Kevin McCloud’s 43 principles of home is a great place to start.