This book is another in my growing list of ‘don’t believe the blurb’. The publisher really wants to dress it up to be a ghost story, but really…
Cassie is a typical young lady living in a small coastal town in New Zealand. She loves the sea, her family, her friend Rana and old fashioned poetry. At school her favourite teacher gives her a family history assignment but for English not history. Cassie chooses to write about her mysterious ancestor Sarah Cassandra, who was reputed to be a pirate. So where is this story idea going to lead? The blurb makes it sound like the spirit of Sarah Cassandra takes control of Cassie and her whole life.
But the book itself is much more satisfying. The story is really about the struggle many adolescent girls have in maintaining friendships. Why is it that two people who have been friends since kinder can no longer have a conversation about the weather without it becoming a fight? And what happens to the trust? This book is really about Cassie and Rana and the gradual dissolving of their ‘best friend’ relationship. And it tells this story beautifully. Although Cassie is the narrator, Pulford very gently reveals enough of Rana’s story to clearly explain her changing behaviour.
As you can tell, I liked the book. I did have some questions about listing it for lower secondary rather than upper secondary because some adults will object to the mention of teenage pregnancy and suicide in a book for 12-14 year olds. But I believe that it is very often this very age group that needs to understand that sometimes people change, and it is OK not to be best friends forever.