Allen & Unwin, 2020
232pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99
When a mysterious glowing purple ball ignites their home while they are innocently making pizzas for tea, only Amber and her brother Reggie emerge from the inferno alive but both are badly injured, Reggie in a coma. Weeks later, watching from her neighbour’s fence Amber sees what remains of her home demolished in a very hush-hush operation.
Five years later, with Reggie still in a coma and Amber reminded daily of the events because of the scar on her face, she is the butt of nasty comments and bullying from her peers who refuse to see the girl beyond the scar. The only constant is her fascination with dragons and her only joy, the beauty of the insect world. But something very strange happens when she trips and falls while on an insect-watching excursion with her class and is surrounded by a swarm of deadly hornets…
Afterwards, Amber knows she has been given an incredible power, but was it a freak accident, or was there something she was supposed to do with it? Controlling her new ability might be the hardest thing Amber has ever done. Especially when she is running for her life. Who is her mysterious enemy? What connection does he have to Amber’s past? And, most importantly, does Amber have what it takes to truly become . . . Skydragon?
This is a brand new series from the prolific and talented Anh Do, aimed at those who are straddling that invisible divide between needing the support of short chapters and illustrations and reading complex novels. There is the familiar background of school but also the twist of the legacy of that glowing purple ball that opens up all sorts of possibilities for adventure. At the top end of the readership for this blog, but one for the more independent 8 year-olds to aspire to.