teens

Ariel’s Dream

Ariel’s Dream
Series:
Publisher:
Published: June 2, 2013
Author's Twitter: @TahliaNewland
Ariel’s Dream is a prequel short story to the award-winning Diamond Peak Series. It includes the first chapter of book one, Lethal Inheritance. A shadow escapes from Ariel’s dream and stalks her in the real world. No matter how she tries to shake it off, it always returns. Even a mysterious old man and a boy bathed in light can’t keep its chill breath at bay. Like the fear that called it, the only way to defeat the shadow is to face it.Ariel’s Dream has received the AIA Seal of Excellence and is a prequel short story to the award-winning Diamond Peak Series. It includes the first chapter of book one, Lethal Inheritance.  

You Can’t Shatter Me

You Can't Shatter Me
Publisher:
Published: November 13, 2013
Author's Twitter: @TahliaNewland
Sixteen-year-old Carly is set to become top of her art class until bully-boy Justin gives her a vicious payback for standing up for one of his victims. Her boyfriend, karate-trained nerd Dylan, wants to smash the guy’s face in, but a fight at school means suspension, losing his chance at school honours and facing a furious father. Carly is determined to find a more creative solution to her problem, but will she sort it out before Dylan’s inner caveman hijacks him and all hell breaks loose? Justin might be a pain, but his harassment leads to a deepening of Dylan and Carly’s romance, and Carly finds an inner strength she didn’t know she had. The magical realism style provides a touch of fantasy in an otherwise very real story that offers heart-warming solutions to bullying. You Can’t Shatter Me is food for the soul. It has received a BRAG Medallion for Outstanding Fiction and an AIA Seal of Excellence in Fiction.

Reviewed 

January 18, 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed this short novel by Tahlia Newland to the extent that I chose to read it twice – and got even more from it the second time around. On the surface this is a story about high school teens – boy and girl becoming aware of one another, while outside that is the constant threat of bullying by an unhappy individual who knows no other way to escape his own, very real demon in the form of an abusive parent.

The way the story is written, with a strong magic realism aspect to it and emphatic underlying messages on morality: love, forgiveness, compassion and understanding, are a real treat, showing the force of faith in oneself and in others who may appear to be beyond redemption.

The writing is excellent, the dialogue natural, the settings totally appropriate for a story aimed at high school children. The thrust of the book is clear, the characters engaging and the story has a strong structure. It is exactly the sort of story schools should use to teach about the various aspects of bullying; how not only the victim but the bully can be helped and how it is so very important to look below the surface for the bully’s motivation.

Overall, a charming story about love and redemption that will appeal to more perceptive children of high school age and could be used to teach those somewhat less perceptive.

Review by Katt Pemble

4 stars

I tossed up between a 3 and 4 star rating for this one. I went with a 4 as you can see. The reason I wasn’t sure was because I felt that the imagery and the fantasy aspect seemed a little too prominent within the story.

Hold up, I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Tahlia has a very strong story here, the characters are realistic, honest and believable. Their reactions are true to being a teenager and the situations they find themselves in is a realistic representation of what a teenager might go through at school. It’s important these days to teach children about bullying and how to deal with it.

An indie book to rival the finished products of the big six, Tahlia should be very proud of the highly glossy polish this book has. If all indie authors could produce this standard of work, the readers of today would be in for a treat!

Now, back onto the story, while there were cliche moments, it didn’t disrupt the storyline. In fact I think some of them helped to solidify the moment in the story and show character growth and development.

Where I took a step back from the story was with the imaginary happenings of the characters, the strange cut scenes that they used to help make important discoveries and growth. They seemed a little too ‘young’ for the story to me. It could be that I’m just not the intended target audience of You Can’t Shatter Me, and as I believe that is the case I overlooked that and bumped up the rating.

This book would be a great one to share with the young adult in your life, be they a son, daughter, niece or nephew. It highlights the bravery required to overcome bullying, but it also teaches them other valuable lessons about self worth and being kind to others. It should be compulsory reading for all Primary and High school kids today.

**Note: I was provided an electronic version of the book in return for an honest review***