Saturday, 30 December 2017

{Review by Stella}


A Swedish-New Zealand partnership between writers Arne Norlin and Sally Astridge has resulted in Time Twins. Published in Sweden in 2014, where it has been a runaway success, and in New Zealand this year by Makaro Press, Time Twins is a great read for children and younger teens. Norlin writes the voice of Astrid, and Astridge the boy Tamati. Born at the exact same moment, Astrid and Tamati are time twins - linked across distance. When Tamati is twelve, he starts appearing in Astrid’s room in the middle of the night. He’s been trying to make contact for ages, taking himself to the beach to meditate and focus and let his mind free. It’s a little like teleporting. His Koro, who has great ambitions for Tamati, has been giving him pointers. At first, Astrid is understandably confused by a boy turning up in the middle of the night, but, like Tamati, she feels the link between them. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Astrid’s life at home and school is a little fraught, and Tamati turns out to be a good listener and has some ideas up his sleeve. Life isn’t that rosy for Tamati either, who feels the pressure of being the oldest child in the family, the one who is expected to do well all the time. His Koro believes he is destined to be a great leader and won’t let up on his plans. This is also a story about bullying and doing the right thing. Both Astrid and Tamati are bystanders who find themselves in tricky situations, ones they could avoid or walk away from, but both feel compelled to behave differently. The tie that binds them, being time twins, helps them overcome difficulties and dangers, making them more resilient and stronger. Time Twins is reminiscent of Margaret Mahy’s work for older children, with its real-life problems, relationship development and supernatural elements. The story moves along at a great pace, with plenty of challenges, moments of humour, and two very compelling characters. The writing from both authors works well - it feels seamless - and the local content - Tamati lives in Nelson South and the authors both have local connections - is the icing on the cake. 

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