It is 1968 when Debbie’s grandmother gives her a copy of her forefather’s old sea journal. She finds it fascinating and very different from her own diary of school life and troubles with friends. One day, sick in bed, she thinks her long-dead relative is trying to tell her something. And then she boards the ferry Wahine for a voyage to Wellington.
I love historical fiction. It’s one of my favourite genres. Living in little New Zealand, we don’t get many exciting stories about us. Let’s be honest, we’re boring! But here’s a book about us that’s actually interesting.
I’ve done all the lessons at school, and seen the monuments, and the things in the museum. I live less than half an hour away from where the boat sank. My best friend lives in Eastbourne where the survivors washed up. So this story has a particularly large impact on me. I found the history parts really interesting, like how they handled everything on the boat. People took their life jackets off to use as pillows! Are they insane? Since I know what’s going to happen, I want to walk up to people like that and shake them.
The supernatural part was the part I didn’t like. Debbie believed that her dead great-great-great-grandfather was communicating with her. I never know if I believe in ghosts or not. If it’s a fantasy story, I’ll allow it. In fact, sometimes I even encourage it! But in a history book, I’d like them to stick to the facts. I don’t want to know if Debbie is hallucinating, or if the author thinks ghosts are real. That’s not what I signed up for when I got this book.
I also didn’t really like Debbie. She was way too invested in her diary. I get that sometimes kids don’t make many friends, but really? Her diary is her only friend? She risked her life on the boat to get it, which was just stupid. She could have died for a BOOK. Yes, it had her thoughts and memories in it, but that doesn’t matter. Her life is more important.
If I’m being really honest, this doesn’t deserve three stars. But I’m being nice, because it’s about my country. And I did learn things from it, even if they weren’t told all that well