Five Parts Dead, by Tim Pegler

Knowing Mel, she and Pip will stumble across a Swedish boys’ school doing massage classes and an extended chocolate-tasting tour of the island. Which leaves me. Alone at the end of the Erath with a smashed-up foot, in virtual solitary confinement. Seriously, it’s a custodial sentence, not a summer break. But after recent events, maybe that’s exactly what Mum and Dad had in mind.

Dan’s summer is one long nightmare. Nursing a broken leg, a constant reminder of the accident which killed three of his mates, he has been dragged off on a family holiday. At the remote settlement his parents have chosen, Dan feels even more out of sorts. His sister and her best friend seem to have plenty to do, and his parents are off exploring, but Dan’s injury, and his grief, haunt him.

When he starts to feel the presence of a mysterious girl in the lighthouse keeper’s cottage where they are staying, Dan wonders if he is hallucinating because of the painkillers he takes. But as he reads the lighthouse logbook he realises that this girl has something to tell him.

Five Parts Dead is an engrossing read which is part mystery, part ghost story and part contemporary issue-based. Dan must deal with the consequences of the accident he has before the novel starts, and with the effect it has had on his whole family, as well as his growing feelings for Pip, his sister’s friend. At the same time the story of Lily, the daughter of one of the original lighthouse keepers, is gradually revealed., through Dan’s reading of the journal, and further investigations.

Five Parts Dead will appeal to both male and female teen readers.

Five Parts Dead

Five Parts Dead, by Tim Pegler
Text, 2010
ISBN 9781921656286

This book can be purchased in good bookstores or online from Fishpond.

Game as Ned, by Tim Pegler

I see my country below. Wonder if it will protect me like the hills looked after Kelly. Then the hail cracks one of the windowpanes beside me. Blind panic. Hands leap about my body. Feel to see if I’ve been shot.

Erin and Ned are an unlikely pairing. Erin is fiery and always talking. Ned never talks. Ever. He has been silent all his life, trapped inside his head. But somehow, the two become friends, with Erin doing all the talking and Ned listening and absorbing.

But not everyone likes them. Ned is the target of the town bully, who thinks it is fun to pick on someone who can’t answer back. Erin also attracts trouble, and when she sees Ned being picked on, she has to stand up for him, even if it draws attention to herself. Soon, both are in trouble, and Ned is on the run, trying to be as brave as the bushrangers he has long been fascinated with.

Game as Ned is an absorbing young adult read, told from the dual perspectives of the two protagonists, with the first section told by Ned, the second by Erin, and the third in alternating chapters by each of them. Ned, as his narrative shows, is an intelligent boy who sees and feels more than many people expect. Only Erin, their boss Mick and Ned’s grandfather see beyond the silence, with Ned unable to speak or to stand up for himself. Erin seems opposite, with her talkative nature sometimes being her downfall, but as we get to know her we see that her noise is almost a form of silence, masking what lies within.

Readers aged 12 and over will be drawn into the story, carried from chapter to chapter by events and by the well-drawn characters.

Superb reading.

Game as Ned

Game as Ned, by Tim Pegler
Angus & Robertson, 2007

Available from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.