Review Blog

May 13 2015

Havoc by Jane Higgins

cover image

Text, 2015. ISBN: 9781922147295
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. This dystopian novel is the sequel to Bridge (winner of the Text Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing in 2010) and has the reader urgently turning the page to see what happens next.
Nick Stais and Pathmaker Lanya, are skilfully drawn main characters who share their inner world with the reader as they grapple with betrayal and conflict. They are caught in a war between two cities, Cityside (rich and powerful) and Southside (portrayed as disadvantaged). A more sinister plan involving biological warfare is discovered. Nick and Lanya must find Nick's father (across the river in Cityside) in order to establish collaborations that will reveal the conspiracy of the governments involved. The writing that explains the actions and thoughts of the characters is intelligent. The reader is often held in suspense as the intrigue and power games threaten to overcome the main characters.
This novel provides opportunities to examine and discuss contemporary issues such as border security, asylum seekers, conflict, loyalty and trust in government.
Excellent teaching notes are available and these are aligned with the Australian Curriculum.
Linda Guthrie

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