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Reviewed by Petra Verbeek Deputy Principal, Hamilton Christian School
Opening sentence
I am the one for whom there is a defining moment.
This novel is told from two perspectives. 15-year old Milly, a victim of the Christchurch earthquakes, is bitter with grief and guilt over her mother’s death. Then there is 14-year old Amir who a Syrian refugee. Both have lost parents, their cities, and homes.

Their lives have been ripped apart by events completely beyond their control, and they are faced with working through feelings of loss and anger. Both teenagers are uprooted, having to move house and adapting to a new school. Milly is also subjected to bullying which curtails her opportunities of making new friends. The only thing that is able to calm her is the ocean and surfing with her father.

When Milly finds Amir clinging to a bucket in the ocean, they become unlikely friends. Now that Milly has saved his life, she feels responsible for him. Amir, on the other hand is confused and scared, and Milly, with her father’s help, heals not only Amir, but herself as well.

The novel is an engrossing story, which includes drug runners, bullies and a dreadful secret. However, it also shines a ray of hope that with the help of friends obstacles can be overcome and emotional scars can be healed.
Author & Illustrator: Blair McMillan
Publisher: Bateman Books
ISBN: 978-77689-061-3
Format: Paperback
Publication: June 2023
Ages: Years 9-11
Themes: Friendship, bullying, mental health, refugees