Lyla: Through my eyes by Fleur Beale

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Through My Eyes Natural Disaster Zones series. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760113780
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Themes: Earthquakes; Disasters; Mental Health; Resilience; Loss and grief; Overcoming difficulties. This series is an amazing chance to step inside a disaster zone (something that no one really seeks) and to develop empathy for those who have really experienced the circumstances of that disaster.
We walk alongside Lyla, a Christchurch teen, who survives the horror of having her city and her life shaken violently. Her amazing story of resilience and fortitude, and the incredible responses to what was a truly horrifying piece of New Zealand's recent history is both challenging and honest. The horrors of the original ground-shaking horrors, the initial damage and the liquefaction, when even the 'sold ground' was no longer to be trusted as secure, are brilliantly related. Lyla and her family must make so many adjustments, while experiencing the repeated uncertainty of after-shocks and building destruction. The honesty of this book is such that we recognise the need for support to those who have experienced great trauma, even when they seem 'to be holding it all together'.
This is a book that is full of great characters who are adjusting to change and the cracks that have opened up as great chasms in their life. With no control over what they are experiencing and with such incredible change that most of us would have no idea how to find any sense of normal, these characters are quite inspiring. Fleur Beale has written this in very compelling way, showing great understanding of the circumstances and of teens in general, and there is humour and personality in every chapter despite the awfulness of the quake zone and the struggles of the main character.
Recommended highly to young readers aged 13+.
Note: mental health issues are discussed . . . not surprisingly considering the circumstances.
Carolyn Hull