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Read NZ Te Pou Muramura 2020

‘The Fire Keeper’s Girls’ is an empowering read. It is just the sort of book I would have loved as a teen … adventure, learning, friendship and growth. Highly recommended.

I was swept away by the fast-moving story of this book. We follow Gemma and Alice, teenage cousins who have been shipped off by their parents to spend the summer with Sam, a woman they hardly know in order to help with some ‘challenges’ they both are experiencing, problems that are revealed as the story evolves.

Deep emotional issues are explored that young adult readers will recognise and relate to. I feel it is also worth noting that sexual abuse is explored, not in a graphic nor explicit way and playing only a small part of the story. The girls find themselves part of a ‘game,’ becoming empowered by learning about real life women and rich life experiences facilitated by the eccentric and worldly Sam. Gemma and Alice return home with a network of support and new skills.

At the end of the book are 25 brief biographies of women from different countries (including Te Puea Herangi, from New Zealand) who achieved and pushed boundaries within their lives. These are a wonderful addition to the book, opening my eyes to some new and unknown pioneering women from around the world. I am a fan of Non-Fiction and I loved how this was not only included in the book but woven throughout the story.’

~ Louana McCormack, Librarian, Opaheke School, Auckland