Alex and the Alpacas Save the World (Kathryn Lefroy, Fremantle Press)
Alex and the Alpacas Save the World is Kathryn Lefroy’s first novel. Part fantasy, part adventure, it reinvigorates the familiar good-versus-evil narrative with an original (if somewhat offbeat) setting and cast of characters—but it works. Alex is looking forward to spending the summer holidays at her Grandpa Jacob’s farm in Tasmania. It’s no holiday resort but it sounds a lot better than staying at home and facing her father and his new family. But from the moment Alex arrives at the farm—where she notices a strange symbol on a fence post and hears a mysterious voice on the wind—she is thrust into a magical world of talking alpacas, Tasmanian tigers and a sinister ancient spirit named Kiala. Alex, together with the alpacas and local boy Leeuie, must interpret a mysterious message and overcome dangerous obstacles deep within the Tasmanian forest if they are to save the world from destruction. Readers will easily relate to strong and courageous Alex, who also carries her own set of personal doubts and grudges as she navigates relationships and grows as a person in the face of danger. Both highly entertaining and surprisingly endearing, Alex and the Alpacas Save the World is also about the importance of family and respecting the land around us. It is ideal for readers aged between eight and 12.
Jacqui Davies is a freelance writer and reviewer based in South Australia