Review Blog

May 03 2018

Bronte's big sister problem by Mary Van Reyk

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Surf Riders Club. Lothian Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9780734417923
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Bronte is in Year 8 and really idolises her sister Carrie, who is 17. Before their older brother, Oscar, left for University, the three siblings had such a close friendship and now it feels like there is a rift between them. Lately, Carrie has been secretive and boy-obsessed and is trying to set Bronte up with Daniel; but won't listen to her sister saying that she is not interested. She also wants Bronte to do whatever she does and sulks if Bronte won't do what she wants. Bronte is feeling so lost without her sister, but her friends are encouraging and interested in the same things as she is so she has to make choices.
Bronte is in the Surf Rider Club, a group of 5 girls, (Ava, Janani, Alex, Molly and herself) who love catching waves and hanging out at the beach. When a surf competition comes to their local beach, the Surf Riders Club are keen to enter. The problem is, Carrie makes Bronte promise she will go to see a DJ with her that day. Bronte feels like she doesn't get a choice. All of the stress of it is interfering with Bronte's practising for the upcoming comps.
In the second book of this series, Bronte works through her feelings and eventually learns to talk about them to her sister. Her brother Oscar is a big help in this, though his character came across as a little too text book eg "I'm sorry, this must feel very overwhelming for you... " In saying that, this story will teach young girls to be a little more assertive, and that is a definite win.
I'd recommend this for girls of Year 4 and up who are interested in surfing, are having relationship issues within families and those with a good conceptual understanding.
Clare Thompson

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