Book Number: 3
Title: Kaitangata Twitch
Author: Margaret Mahy
Date of Completion: 3/1/2012
Rating: 3 stars
Rating: 3 stars
I started reading this after I finished watching the show. I don't think I will be able to review without a little bit of comparison to the TV show. When I picked this up I was surprised by it's length, since the TV show had so much content. The characters are all quite believable and the premise is interesting, I just felt that the novel didn't get deep enough and unlock its full potential.
Why I Read It: I liked the TV show
With Sebastion Cardwell making development plans for the bay, everything is going to change - some support it, others are against it. But the most affected by the change is the Gallagher family. Mr Gallagher and Kate against it, but how far will they go? Mrs Gallagher is on middle ground and just wants what is best for her family, Rufus is losing his friends because of it. But the most affected is Meredith, who is getting messages from the mysterious island Kaitangata.
Meridith - Our heroine is a plain 12/13 year old girl in the middle of a family who is caught up by Cardwell's new development plans. She hears the voice of the island Kaitangata, has weird dreams about it and is found sleepwalking due to those dreamsShe plays the flute and canoes but that seems to be the extent of her hobbies. Like with most of the characters in this novel, Meridith lacked the depth that I liked to see in characters. She is a very mediocre heroine, but at least she's not annoying.
Kate - The oldest Gallagher child (probably 15-17). Kate seems to have more depth to her character than most do. She is totally against Cardwell and his development and has a tendency to blame things on him. She learns throughout the course of the book how far to go to be a warrior **SPOILERS AHEAD:** shaving your head is ok and might be symbolic to you, but potty-mouth vandalism is not **END SPOILERS**
Mrs Gallagher - Hardworking mum Michelle (changed to Grace in the TV series, not that I really care, I mean her first name was only mentioned once in the book). She's a fence-sitter in the Cardwell debate and she knows the development won't be all that bad but most off all she hates how it is making her family unstable.
Mr Gallagher - a environmentalist dad who is also against the development. He quietens his protests after he sees what it has done to him.
Rufus - Meredith's little brother (age not specified). Easily influenced. I was surprised that almost half of the swearing in this novel came from his mouth, because judging from Meridith's age he was probably 9-11 years old, I know that some kids that age do swear heaps because they think its so 'cool' and 'gangsta', but I doubt that those kids play pretend real-life adventure games with invisibility powers and such-like.
Sebastian Cardwell - Rich antagonistic big name Sebastian Cardwell, plans to turn his old hometown into something flashy and new to impress the investors and get the cash flowing in. I liked the history between Mrs and Mr Gallagher and him.
Lee Kaa - Meredith's Moari great uncle. I kind of liked the mysterious, suspicious, teacher-guide Lee Kaa from the TV show better and I was disappointed that he didn't feature as much in the books.
Other - I was glad that Meridith had friends from school in the book, because in the TV show she kind of looked like a loner whose only friend was this old mysterious, murderous (not really), Maori guy,which is quite unrealistic.
The plot had an interesting premise, which I felt could have been explored further (which the TV show did). I was also quite unsatisfied with the ending as **SPOILERS AHEAD** you only find out that real-Sebastian Cardwell stopped his developed because he practically vanished financially, where as dream-Sebastian got eaten by the island and you kind off wanted to know if real-Cardwell is alive after his dream-self being eaten **END SPOILER**
The writing was a little too dry and simplistic for my liking, but other than that I had no problems with it. I would say that the writing style is better for a children's novel, but since I say the book is for children I am going to point out that there is infrequent swearing in it.
Recommendation: Older children, as the writing and depth is more suitable for children but there is infrequent swearing.