Phoenix, by Alison Ashley

I tried to respond but my mouth wouldn’t form words and the letter said it all anyway. I felt like meringue floating in an ocean, like I was dissolving, hot like molten sugar, cold like the sea. Fighting the inevitable was futile. I tried to extract the note from my pocket but my strength had gone. I closed my eyes and let my body drift on the bobbing tide.
Something from my past was calling me, some family secret or tragedy that I had to resolve. I didn’t know what it was – all I knew was that I had to go back; the letter had made that very clear. And in all honesty, I didn’t feel like I belonged here anyway.

Katie is half a world away from her old life. She’s grown up in Australia but now her whole family has moved to England to be with her grandad, who needs care. But here in England Katie will have to face her past in a way few would believe. Haunted by the events of a former life, Katie knows she must go back to put something to rights – even if she doesn’t know what that something is, or how she can fix it. Her twin sister, Ally, doesn’t believe in Kate’s talk of past lives, but to fulfil her destiny, Kate will need Ally’s support.

Phoenix is the first in a new paranormal series from debut author Alison Ashley, The Fifth Shadow. Sixteen year old Katie is a likeable first person narrator, and the blend of time shifts, personal and family development and a little history make a highly attractive blend for teen readers, with the paranormal elements not overdone or overwhelming. Whilst the story is self-contained, it is absorbing enough that readers will eagerly look forward to the next instalment.


Phoenix, by Alison Ashley
Warrambucca Books, 2011
ISBN 9780646555065

Available online.