June 3

The Reluctant Halleluia by Gabrielle Williams

9780143566847Review #14.

I’m back! Overseas visitors have gone home, and finally I have caught up on all the work that was left while I spent time with friends and family. Then last weekend I re-motivated myself by attending the Reading Matters conference at SLV. As a result I have unpacked all my YA lit and started reading again.

The first off the pile was this. I have been sent Williams’ first novel for review, but after the enticing comments about this one, it jumped to the top of the list. Of course the excuse is that I have to do a bunch of booktalks about journeys on Thursday, so this unique road trip novel just had to be included.

Imagine, second last day of year 12 classes, exam stress at max. And Mum and Dad disappear! Gone! No call, no text, just gone! And then Enron of all people tells Dodo about this basement in your house and tells you to go down there. What basement? He has never been to Dodo’s place.

But there is the basement, and oh my God, what a surprise is down there! Worse than that, it has to be taken to Sydney. Now…

Reason and Logic would indicate that this book is just too far ‘out there’. The plot could never, ever work. Heaven knows how Williams pitched it to her publisher. But it does work! She has just the right lightness of touch and sense of comedy to keep the whole thing from going too far. And Santa’s miracles add just the touch of wonder.

I will admit that I had to think carefully to find the Wizard of Oz allusions.