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Reviewed by Jenny Tawa
Opening sentence
I was six when my goat left home to go work for Santa2.
'Nine Girls' by Stacy Gregg immediately captivated me from the moment I opened its pages. The inclusion of a reo Māori glossary added depth to the narrative, which is intricately woven with Māori language throughout. Set in late 1970s Aotearoa, New Zealand, the novel follows Titch's journey as she relocates from Tāmaki-Makaurau, Auckland to Ngāruawāhia due to her family's financial troubles. Intrigued by rumours of a cursed treasure hidden on their land, Titch, along with her cousins and newfound friend Tania, embarks on a quest that unravels family secrets and historical tensions.

Through encounters with the mystical creature Pan, Titch delves into her ancestry, gaining profound insights into her identity and community. Spanning several years, the story intertwines with significant historical events like the Bastion Point occupation and the Springbok rugby tour protests, offering a rich backdrop to Titch's personal growth.

Drawing from her own upbringing in Ngāruawāhia, Stacy Gregg infuses the narrative with authenticity and depth. The novel's exploration of identity, friendship, and cultural heritage is complemented by historical notes in the Author's Note section, providing readers with additional context and glimpses into the author's inspirations.
Publisher: Penguin Random House
ISBN: 9781776958146
Format: Paperback
Publication: 2024
Ages: 10+
Themes: Growing up, whakapapa, Aotearoa history