Chemical Leak! by Gillian M. Wadds

The only way I could get back on top of the container was to edge around the front of the drums and that meant getting quite close to the guard and the dog. Neither of them moved as I crept sideways past them, hardly daring to look where I was going. As soon as I reached the pipes I turned and scrambled up.
’And don’t come back!’ he yelled as I reached the top. ‘Tell her, Prince.’

Zena loves science and wants to prove to her science teacher and the rest of the class that she is a good researcher. So when she discovers a strange chemical leaking into the water at the beach, she decides to base her science project on it. First she needs to discover where the leak is coming from, and then she’ll figure out how to fix it.

But Zena soon finds that solving this problem may not be as easy as it seems. First she is caught by a security guard when she enters the yard where the leak is coming from. Then her father finds out how dangerous the leak is and tells her to stay away. Zena is sure there is a bigger problem here, but doesn’t realise that her life could be at risk if she persists with her investigations.

Chemical Leak! is an exciting read for young teens. As well as the mystery of the chemical leak, there is also exploration of family relations, ethnicity and racism, and friendship. Zena is a Lebanese Australian learning about the challenges of growing up and her motivation in pursuing the mystery is to prove to her classmates that she is clever.

Suitable for 10 to 14 year old readers.

Chemical Leak! by Gillian M. Wadds
Lothian, 2006