Author(s): Steph Matuku
A busload of high school students crashes in the bush in a remote part of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Only a few of the teenagers survive; they find their phones don't work, there's no food, and they've only got their wits to keep them alive. There's also something strange happening here. Why are the teenagers having nosebleeds and behaving erratically, and why is the rescue effort slow to arrive? To make it out, they have to discover what's really going on and who or what is behind it all.
This pacy debut novel gets off to a cracking start when a bus full of high school students crashes in remote bush and only some survive. With no cellphone coverage, several injuries and only the food they can catch, it's a bleak scenario, especially when there's no sign of anyone coming to rescue them.
The dialogue is authentic - the teenagers sound and act like real Kiwi teenagers. The chapters are short and the tightly written, surreal plot keeps you in suspense right until the end. It's a survival story, but there are elements of the supernatural as characters you think are dead, appear to be alive, while others experience strange symptoms like nosebleeds, headaches and visions.
Meanwhile what is behind the Seddon Corporation's pledge to rescue the teenagers by over-riding the efforts of the regular search and rescue team? Is the crash area really a hazardous terrain full of magnetic fields as they would have us believe? And is that really a spaceship that Idelle has discovered?
Matuku incorporates Maaori mythology and science fiction into her highly readable macabre thriller for age 14+