Review Blog

Mar 18 2010

Arrival by Chris Morphew

cover image

(The Phoenix Files: Book 1). Hardie Grant Egmont, 2009. ISBN: 978 1921502392.
(Ages 10-15) Highly recommended. When Luke's parents separate, he is taken to live with his mother in Phoenix, a pristine town in the middle of nowhere. They soon discover that there are no cars, telephone signal or internet. On his arrival at the new school, he meets a new group of people and is quickly dragged into trying to solve a mystery relating to the destruction of the entire human race. Together with Jordan and Peter, he aims to investigate a set of clues which appear to have been left by the aptly named 'Crazy Bill'. The group is led to the outskirts of town where they make some terrifying discoveries.
Morphew is a talented young Australian author and part time teacher who displays a sound understanding of teen themes. His website for the series is set out to look like a journal with great character fact files included therein, written in the form of a brief for someone wishing to perhaps find them. The reader is able to discover information far more easily here than in the pages of the book. With themes including family, friendships, divorced parents plus 'super-powered homeless people, conspiracy theories and unrequited love', (to quote the author) this book is aimed at teenage readers but would also appeal to the more capable upper primary readers. It unfolds slowly at first but with a certain air of menace, reminding me of a children's version of the Stepford Wives. As I arrived at the final page of the book I reached immediately for the already released sequel, contact, desperate to see how the story would continue to unfold.
Jo Schenkel, Pilgrim School

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