Riggs Crossing by Michelle Renee Heeter

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Ford Street, 2012. ISBN: 9781921665707.
(Age: 15+) After being hurt and traumatised after a car accident, Len Russel is placed in the Refuge, a Sydney home for children with no where else to go. Without any formal schooling to occupy her time Len becomes sour and judgemental, preferring to think that she will have a glamorous future like Clarissa Hobbs, the protagonist of her favourite television show. Wielding an outstanding level of intelligence Len has private tutoring with a woman from the university, Miss Dunn. It is Miss Dunn who encourages Len's aptitude for reading while carefully neglecting to comment on Len's intelligence. Despite maintaining that she has no recollection of her name or past, memories swirl around her like dust motes, easily disturbed. She soon gathers that her father was involved in the illegal farming of marijuana crops. In spite of her youth Len knows better than to share her memories, knowing that it could get her father into serious trouble. Unsure of what to do Len becomes more solitary, preferring to keep to herself and away from the other Refuge children.
Written in the first person and present tense Riggs Crossing is a highly engaging read and I would recommend it for people aged fifteen and up (drug references and some inappropriate language). A combination of flashbacks, present day events and case notes Riggs Crossing demonstrates how easy it is to unknowingly emulate others and pick up their habits, good and bad. This is shown by Len's knowledge of the drug trade and by her rebellion and harassment of the other children once Bindi and Cinnamon leave the shelter.
Kayla Gaskell