MADDIE is the sort of protagonist you can’t help but love–caring, loyal and lots of fun.
But she loses her way and ends up in all sorts of trouble in Julia Lawrinson’s new book Maddie In The Middle.
The year six pupil starts to feel lost and lonely when her best friend Katy becomes busy with school duties, so Maddie befriends a new mysterious girl at school, Samara, but it comes at a high price.
Nuanced and sophisticated, the book explores the moral dilemmas we all face in life–no matter our age or experience.
“It’s about a girl who’s at a crossroads in her life; she wants to feel a bit special,” Lawrinson says.
“I really wanted it to be about those crisis moments, what goes into making someone do the right or wrong thing.
“People are confronted with those choices all the time. For example, if you see a $20 note on the ground outside a supermarket.
“From the trivial to the serious, it’s something really important to how we are as human beings.
“If I’m confronted with that kind of choice, what happens if I make the wrong decision? What are the consequences?”
Maylands resident Lawrinson is an award-winning writer of books for children and young adults. She studied law at university and her books explore the complex relationship between morality and justice in society.
In one powerful scene Maddie is in juvenile court facing community service unless she mends her ways; but at what cost to her friendship with Samara?
Lawrinson delves headfirst into friendships and the difficulties in keeping relationships alive.
“Friendship’s a theme of mine in all of my books because it’s something that’s important in all our lives.”
But the Perth author festoons the drama with humour, making the book laugh-out-loud funny at times.
Lawrinson won the WA Premier’s Book Award in 2001 for her debut novel Obsession.
Her writing deals with a wide spectrum of issues whilst still being accessible for younger readers.
“Children need lots and lots of different ideas…they need lots of different ways of looking at the world presented to them. I like to think that I’m part of presenting those different ways of looking at things.”
Maddie In the Middle is published by Fremantle Press.
by ALEX MURFETT