Review Blog

Aug 28 2014

Caro was here by Elizabeth Farrelly

cover image

Walker Books, 2014. ISBN 9781922244833.
(Age: 11+) Recommended. Journey. Islands. Truanting. Friendships. When Caro wants an adventure she truants from school taking her much younger brother along as well, but all sorts of other people join her escapade, some she does not like or want. Twelve year old Caro has just lost the Winter Captain election at school, it is the day before the Easter break, her birthday, and she needs to do something. But the winner of the election, Ellen, an American girl newly arrived at school, and so full of herself that Caro cringes, tags along despite being told by Caro that she is not wanted. But Ellen smooches the rest of the group overturning Caro's decree.
Caro decides to go to Cockatoo Island in the harbour, but they miss that ferry and get on the one for Goat Island instead. Followed by a group of rowdy boys, they miss the return boat and are stuck on the island over night.
The island has a grisly history as a jail. The stage is set.
An easy to read adventure story for upper primary readers, this reveals animosity between groups of children who then have to work together to survive a cold and dangerous night. Caro and her friends are readily identifiable and will engage the reader instantly. The intrigue of an escaped prisoner, the men on the island with their drug lab and the boat with a hidden stash of cash, adds tension to this well written story of a group needing each other more than they think, and along the way reveals some of their fears and half hidden truths about their lives, endearing them even more to the reader.
Fran Knight

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