As a member of the New Zealand swimming team, fifteen-year-old Alex gets her first taste of independence as she faces the challenges of competition in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.
Rome is full of distractions - the games, the enchanting city itself, and an intriguing young man always one step ahead of Alex. Soon Alexander Archer will be on the starting blocks, waiting for the Olympic gun to fire. This is the race she has dreamed of for years.
Esther Glen Medal 1992
Tessa Duder began to write for young people when the youngest of her four daughters went to school. Nine novels since 1982, including Night Race to Kawau, Jellybean, Mercury Beach, Hot Mail (with William Taylor) and the four award-winning books of the Alex quartet, have established her as one of New Zealand's leading writers. The Tiggie Tompson Show, the first of a planned trilogy about the redoubtable Tiggie, won the 2000 New Zealand Post award for Senior Fiction. Among her awards since 1987 are three Children's Book of the Year prizes, three Esther Glen Medals, several Creative New Zealand writing bursaries, the 1991 University of Waikato Writing Fellowship, and in 1996, the New Zealand Children's Book Foundation's Margaret Mahy Medal.