“Danny Dawson lives in the middle of the Australian outback. His older brother Jonny was killed in an accident last year but no-one ever talks about it. And now it’s time for the annual muster; the biggest event of the year on the cattle station, and a time to sort the men from the boys. But this year things will be different: because Jonny’s gone and Danny’s determined to prove he can fill his brother’s shoes; because their fourteen-year-old sister is pregnant; because it’s getting hotter and hotter and the rains won’t come; because cracks are beginning to show…”
First Line: “I’d known for ages how a baby was made.”
Why I read it: It is currently on the Carnegie shortlist.
Who I would recommend it to: People who like gently paced family dramas, animal stories or are interested in the Australian outback.
This is comfortably my least favourite book on the Carnegie shortlist. Whilst it was okay and covered some interesting and important themes, it was just a bit dull and does not compare well to the excellent other seven shortlisted novels. Nothing really happened until half way through and if I hadn’t been reading it for Carnegie, I probably wouldn’t have finished it. It has some appealing elements but the endless descriptions of cattle just got a bit boring for me. I think that Lewis has a great deal of potential as a writer but this is just too boring, particularly for a children’s novel. The characters needed more backstory and the story just needed more variation and action and less description of cows.