There is a new feeling now when I wake in the morning. A feeling I am moving forward. I can tell I am growing stronger, and it's not just physical. Soon, when people think of Carissa, the most popular girl at Stanway, they will think of me too. Samuel and Carissa. Nothing can ruin it. Not the stupid new house, not the designer valley that surrounds it. If I am patient, if I work to a plan, this will be my year. But plans have a way of falling over, and other people have a bad habit of getting in the way. People like Kurt, with his made-to-order smile, or Leon, bigger than any teenager has a right to be. People like Carissa, who has her own nightmare to live. Then there's Samuel himself, and all the trouble he attracts. He'll need to be even stronger than he imagines. This is some year. Whether or not it's Samuel's won't be decided until the very end. Here is a remarkable new novel from Wellington teacher and writer, Bernard Beckett, to follow his stand-out debut, Lester. Red Cliff explores themes of revenge and the unveiling of secrets through the eyes of a teenage boy. Unlike the tragic Lester, this novel ends on a high note, in which the best of human nature wins out.
The themes and incorporation of different narrative styles should appeal to teachers while the authentic voice and powerful climax - in which families and friendships and the force of nature erupt imultaneously - ensure it's a genuine page-turner for its target readership.