For days, Julia had been chewing it over. How could she get through to this creep? What could she say to him that’d make him see he wasn’t the only person in the world? A log crackled in the campfire and split with a bright red glow. Julia took a step back from the heat, snapping a dry gumleaf in half.
Julia loves everything about camping with her stepdad, Jeff – everything except his son, Robert. She thinks he’s a pain. It’s been several days since they met at the start of this camping trip and nothing has happened to change her mind. As far as she’s concerned, Robert is worse than boring and quite useless at anything camping-related. Julia wishes he was home in faraway Queensland with his mother, and she and Jeff were back home with Mum, waiting for the baby to arrive. Then things start to go terribly wrong and Robert’s communication skills are a minor issue compared with the challenges they face.
Cross-Currents is an adventure into the Australian Outback that goes very wrong. But it’s also a story about family in its myriad formations. Jeff, Julia’s stepdad, has been married to her mum for about five years. But Jeff has a son, about the same age as Julia, who lives with his mum at the other end of the country. Jeff seems to have organised this trip partly so the two teenagers can meet. Julia may have gained a father, but Robert has lost one. Neither is very tolerant of the other. As drama unfolds, Julia and Robert need to work together and in doing so, both realise that first impressions can be misleading. Cross-Currents is a fast-paced, exciting read that holds the attention from start to finish. Themes here include the power of cooperation, tolerance and understanding. Recommended for 11-15 year-old readers.
Cross-Currents, by Janeen Brian
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