Shadows in the Mirror, by Cameron Nunn

Reviewed by Kathryn Duncan

School Bullying is an ongoing issue and Cameron Nunn’s debut novel Shadows in the Mirrormade an impact from the first page. This is a powerful story that looks at bullying from the point of view of a young boy stuck between the bullies and the victim.

David is a Year 11 student at Hamilton College. For five years he has lived by the rule that you do not dob on anyone, not for anything. His roommate Simon is the grandson of a former rugby great and expected to be just like him – which he is not.

When Simon becomes the victim, he sees David as a friend and supporter. David, on the other hand, is pressured to be part of the silence of the school community that condones bullying by refusing to deal with it. As he and Simon investigate the death of a student many years earlier, David faces decisions that will impact on lives and the truth about Hamilton College.

I found this book deeply moving, and very difficult to put down. Whilst I could not identify with the boarding school setting, the behaviour of the boys and unfortunately the teachers has a strong ring of truth to it and according to Nunn ‘it’s sadly based on a variety of real events.’ Whilst the age recommendation is 14+, it would be suitable for most children from around 12 years.

Shadows in the Mirror by Cameron Nunn
Black Dog Books, 2006
PB rrp $18.95