Escape to the Moon Islands by Mardi McConnochie
Quest of the sunfish series, bk 1. Allen and Unwin, 2016.
(Age: Upper primary, Junior secondary) This fast paced novel, the first of a trilogy, tells of twelve year old twins, Will and Annalie, and their search for their father, Spinner. He has disappeared in mysterious circumstances, and as they begin the search for him, they realise how little they know about their father.
Their world is post-apocalyptic following a catastrophic flood and the Admiralty is now in charge, ruling with emergency powers introduced after the Flood, 40 years before.
Before his disappearance, Annalie's father enrolled her at a school where she was isolated because her family's poverty made her different from everyone else. However, she befriends another young girl, Essie, who is similarly isolated, and when Annalie decides to run away from the school to begin the search for her father, Essie joins her. Together, they meet with Will and manage to escape with Spinner's parrot and his boat, the Sunfish.
They set sail for the Moon Islands, where they believe Spinner has taken refuge. On the way, they rescue a boy, a former slave, Pod, and he proves to be a loyal and quick witted member of their team as they try to elude members of the Admiralty, also searching for Spinner.
Annalie and Will, although very dependent on each other, clash at times and Will's forceful nature also creates issues with Essie and Pod.
There are comments about power and the true nature of those who try to maintain it at any cost and issues such as bullying, pollution, slavery and the care of animals. These are conversation points that students might like to pursue.
Those who value a story which deals with such issues as well as a battle for survival will look forward to the second book in the Quest of the sunfish series.