Outlaw Girls (Emily Gale & Nova Weetman, Text)
Emily Gale and Nova Weetman deliver again with Outlaw Girls, the Kelly country time-slip follow-up to their CBCA Notable Elsewhere Girls. In 1878, Kate Kelly secretly slips supplies to her outlaw brother and his gang while helping them evade police. In 2023, Ruby can’t stay out of trouble, stealing from the local IGA and hot-wiring a tractor. Sent to stay at her uncle’s place in Victoria’s High Country, she discovers something spectacular when riding her horse—a time-slip back to 1878, where she meets Kate. Ruby is immediately thrown into the outlaw life, helping protect the Kelly gang. Similar to how swimming was a key focus in Elsewhere Girls, Outlaw Girls focuses on the joy and independence that horses can provide. With alternating perspectives, it’s also a refreshing and nuanced take on strong young female friendships. It is sure to inspire conversations on how to help friends when they are in need, while also introducing questions about law, justice and policing. Outlaw Girls is also an excellent springboard for learning about the women behind the Kelly gang and considering history from a feminist angle. In this high-stakes story for readers aged 10+, can Ruby keep Kate and her family safe with her knowledge from the future, altering the course of Australian history? This time-slip story is riveting upper-middle-grade historical fiction like you’ve never seen it before.
Books+Publishing reviewer: Clare Millar is a writer, editor and children's bookseller. Books+Publishing is Australia’s number-one source of pre-publication book reviews.