Dragon Skin (Karen Foxlee, A&U)
Dragon Skin is the much-anticipated new novel by Karen Foxlee, author of cherished modern classics including the internationally successful Lenny’s Book of Everything. Foxlee is skilled at writing brave yet vulnerable young characters who steal readers’ hearts forever, and Dragon Skin is no different. Ten-year-old Pip is going through a tough time. Her best friend Mika has left, and at home she is trying to stay out of the way of her mother’s new boyfriend, who is dangerous like the hairpin bends in a road. Then a chance discovery changes everything. When she finds a small creature at the creek, Pip sets out on a challenging journey to save its life and return it home. Along the way she tackles numerous obstacles including a reasonable amount of self-doubt, but she proves herself to be a resourceful and thoughtful problem solver. Absent Mika lends a helping hand via the memories that Pip conjures about her lost friend, and an unlikely friend or two comes into the fray just when she needs them most. As with Foxlee’s past work, the writing is descriptive and insightful while still being accessible for all middle-grade readers. This novel is perfect for those looking for a truly unique book and will especially appeal to readers who love adventures that are embedded with contemporary concerns. Dragon Skin is a magical tale that proves what you most need to survive is love.
Karys McEwen is the library manager at Prahran and Richmond High School and the president of the CBCA VIC Branch.