By: Pip Harry
Genre: YFB - General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Published by: University of Queensland Press
Published: 7 May 2019
ISBN: 9780702260476


When a Manly school sets out to bring a country class to the city for a beach visit, three very different kids find each other and themselves.

Noah is fearless in the surf. Being at the beach makes him feel free. So where does his courage go when his best mate pushes him around?

Lottie loves collecting facts about bugs, but she wishes her dad would stop filling their lonely house with junk. She doesn’t know what to do about it.

Jack wants to be a cricket star, but first he has to get to school and look after his little sister. Especially if he wants to go on the class trip and see the ocean for the first time.


Set in the alternate, and very different, areas of Manly in Sydney (population 5.1 million) and Mullin, in rural Australia (population 3000).

The kids from Mullin are going to visit Manly, and see the surf for the first time. Jack is excited and hopes to be chosen, but he has problems with his mother at home and there is always a reason for him not to attend school, so this looks doubtful.

Noah and Lottie from St Teresa’s in Manly are placed together to organise a fundraiser for the Mullin kids. But they have their own problems  -  Noah’s a good kid, but his supposed mate Harley is always hurting him, and Lottie’s Mum has died and now her Dad is a terrible hoarder.

But coming together gives them both a new friend. With each student becoming a pen pal with someone from the other school, we learn a lot about these kids and their dreams.

It is a great story that brings together two very different places, and shows that the kids might not be so different after all. This is beautifully written and covers themes of grief, bullying, family life and friendship. It is ideal for all Year 4—6 readers.

Reviewed by Rob