Broken, by Elizabeth Pulford

My head is full of bubbles. Strange, floating words, bits of conversations, bits of people. Some I know. Some I don’t. Hundreds of contoured dots. I can’t see straight. Can’t think straight. I seem to be nowhere. I seem to be everywhere. If only the wretched thumping in my head would stop.

Zara lies broken, trapped in a coma after a terrible accident. She can’ts peak, buts he can hear – and her subconscious is taking her places she doesn’t wish to go. As she struggles to make sense of what’s happening to her now, she also deals with memories of a traumatic event in her childhood, and searches through a comic-book landscape for her brother, who was in the accident with her. She must make sense of it it all if she is to survive.

Told using a variety of forms – first person present tense, past tense, narration of dream-sequences as she adventures through a mixed up world based on her bother’s favourite comic strip, as well as graphic novel elements as some scenes are brought to life in comic book cells. Zara also has ‘conversations’ with her hospital room visitors, though they can’t hear her responses. This is a lot of different forms, but it works, and teen readers will enjoy the variety and the novelty it represents. The comic world is a novelty, but it is also the tool for Zara to confront her past and her borther’s fate and, as the novel progresses, the two become increasingly intertwined.

SUitable for teen readers, Broken is an intriguing read.


Broken, by Elizabeth Pulford
Walker Books, 2012
ISBN 9781921529887

This book is available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

The Littlest Angel 1: Lily Gets Her Wings and 2: Lily Has A Secret by Elizabeth Pulford ill Aki Fukuoka

Lily rolled over in bed. She stared up at the starry painted ceiling. Today was the big day. The day she tried out for a place in Amelia’s Angel Academy.


Lily rolled over in bed. She stared up at the starry painted ceiling. Today was the big day. The day she tried out for a place in Amelia’s Angel Academy.

The trouble was, there were two of them trying to get into the academy. And there was only one place left. It was between her and Tisa.

With an anxious sigh, Lily glanced over at Tisa’s bed. It was empty. Oh no! She was probably practising already.

 Lily really, really wants to be an angel. That means being accepted at Amelia’s Angel Academy. There are two candidates and only one place, and from her late morning waking, things just keep going wrong. Tisa, the other girl vying for the Academy place, is ultra-determined that she will win. Whoever wins the place will learn all there is to learn about being a proper angel. As the testing progresses, Lily becomes surer that Tisa is going to win. But there is more than one way to test a trainee angel.

In ‘Lily has a Secret’, Lily does a good deed, but it seems sure to get her into trouble. She rescues a kitten, but having a kitten in the Academy is Against The Rules. And her former nemesis, Tisa, is becoming more and more impatient with her as their rehearsal for the concert is constantly disrupted. Illustrations of Lily and her adventures are scattered throughout.

The Littlest Angel is a new series from New Zealand writer Elizabeth Pulford. They are shiny-covered, with coloured pages and will surely appeal to young independent readers, particularly girls. Who doesn’t long to be able to fly and to help people achieve their dreams? Lily is exceptionally pure-hearted, but this same heart that endears her to almost all at the Academy also gets her in all sorts of scrapes. She tries valiantly to follow all the rules, but there always seems to be a reason to break them. If it’s not her wings being torn, then it’s some other calamity. Fortunately there are people to help her when she thinks she is in trouble. Slowly she is coming to know and understand Tisa, a very different child/angel, who bends the rules in other ways and always seems to be cross. Recommended for early primary independent readers.

Lily Gets Her Wings (The Littlest Angel)

Lily Gets Her Wings , Elizabeth Pulford, ill Aki Fukuoka Scholastic NZ 2012 ISBN: 9781775430223

Lily Has a Secret (The Littlest Angel)

Lily Has a Secret , Elizabeth Pulford, ill Aki Fukuoka Scholastic NZ 2012 ISBN: 9781775430230


review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

Tussock, by Elizabeth Pulford

‘Hurry up, slowcoach,’ called Kate. She glanced over at her younger sister. They should be at the hut by now, not hanging about the lake. She’d promised her mum that they wouldn’t be long.
Madeline took no notice. She kept scouring the edge of the water. Picking up one stone after another. Looking at each in turn, feeling them with her fingers and then, dissatisfied, dropping them.

Kate’s dad goes missing on a routine small plane flight. Now all Kate, her sister Madeline and her mother can do is wait. Kate isn’t content to just sit and wait so she goes up to the old hut on the hill behind their farm. She lights a lantern every night, so Dad will see it and know he’s home. Madeline has her own method of ensuring her father’s safety and return. She’s building a stone man. Legend has it that when completed, he will find her father. While visiting the hut they meet Troy, a mysterious boy full of secrets. He might divert all Kate’s questions, but he also provides a distraction while she and her family wait. On the day Kate’s father went missing, they had a fight. Their fight seems so trivial now when compared with the possibility that she might never see him again.

Rites of passage can take many forms, and for Kate, it’s a potential tragedy that helps her grow up. She realises that she’s not the only one who is grieving, is waiting to hear about her dad. She also discovers that not all families are equal, that not every family functions as well as hers has. She is bedded down in a wonderfully comfortable world full of history, love and trust. She develops some perspective on a major family decision that she has been resisting. There are strong themes of family, community, trust and safety. Kate is a resourceful, likable character who keeps the lantern lit for her father, while adjusting to the reality that he may never return. Recommended for upper-primary readers.


Tussock, Elizabeth Pulford
Walker Books Australia 2010
ISBN: 9781921529450

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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

Blackthorn, by Elizabeth Pulford

My name is Blackthorn.
I am in a dream, running free again through the great woods of Gurcross. My bare feet skim across the rough ground. I carry a spear. It is light and easy to handle. Tied around my head is a band stained with my own blood. I am a Trahern warrior.
I jolt awake. The dream vanishes. My father’s voice stays in my head. Yet how is this so when he is dead and gone?
The forest is deathly still; no breath stirs except my own, frozen against the darkening moon. My body aches, curled and cramped within this tiny space – a a hollow in the rotting trunk of a giant oak. It is my sanctuary.

Twelve year old Alyana is alone in the world. Her mother died less than a year ago, now her father is gone too. She has two choices: to live with her priest uncle and his family or to be a warrior like her father. She chooses the latter, giving herself the name ‘Blackthorn’ and escaping into the forest where she feels most at home. But life in the forest is very tough, much tougher than she ever imagined. Winter brings snow and an awareness that previously she has only played at survival. She realises there is much she must learn if she is to be a warrior, indeed if she is to survive at all. Her father’s advice, given as she grew, is constantly in her head, guiding her on when she falters.

Blackthorn is set in a time where tribal rivalries were strong. The strength of a people was in their ability to protect their own. And that meant warriors. Alyana’s father was a warrior and she is convinced that it is also her destiny. Told in the first person, Alyana refers to herself in the third person when she talks about her warrior-self, Blackthorn. Blackthorn is told in present tense bringing the reader close to the action. There is plenty of action as Alyana scrabbles her way through the time after her father’s death. She struggles with his death, her own impetuous nature and her fledgling survival skills. Alyana grows and matures, learning from her mistakes, remembering her father’s counsel.

Recommended for mid-upper primary readers.

Blackthorn, by Elizabeth Pulford
Walker Books 2008
ISBN: 9781921150470