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Shiftlight

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"Shiftlight is written in a descriptive way that provides readers with imagery of all the senses."


-Sue Calder, Library Assistant


 Review By: R. Wild, Librarian, Linwood College


In his debut novel Shiftlight, David Jubermann has written a powerful boy-racer story. The opening chapter describing the break-in and subsequent theft of a modified car sets the scene for an intense very well written story. Cam and his friends love their cars and there are pages of details of how the cars are changed from factory standards to highly modified cars ready to race anything. Cam and his friends often cruse around the streets of Christchurch looking for people/cars to race but are not satisfied with the short bursts of speed the city streets allow. The road behind the airport is used for an exciting race between Cam's friend Taz and a girl racer, Danica. When Cam finds a strip of deserted road on the outskirts of Christchurch he finds a way to let other car enthusiasts know and over 100 racers turn up to race each other according to their cars' ratings. All is going well until the police turn up and there is a wild chase scene across the rough terrain before some of the racers escape.

After this episode the friends decide to lie low for a while and with holidays owing Cam decides to take his girlfriend, Miriam to Nelson for a couple of weeks. Just outside Kaikoura a major event occurs that changes their plans and their lives.

The characters in this novel are really likable and easy to relate to, typical youths with jobs, girlfriends and a real passion for their cars. At times the jargon describing the modifications to the cars is overpowering, but to someone who is interested in how car enthusiasts get their machines to a certain standard this novel is a must. There are enough female characters and relationships in this novel for it to appeal to male and female young adults.



 

Review By: Sue Calder, Library Assistant, Greymouth High School

Setting/Theme:

Set locally in Christchurch, New Zealand. I feel the book represents ‘typical self-absorbed young adults living in the now’, with a boy racer storyline which is very topical in New Zealand at the moment. However, this group does not identify with the ‘boy racer’ reputation portrayed in the media. For example, they get taxis after a party, lookout for each other, and do not go out of their way to disturb others.

Plot/Character:

Teenage boy racer Cam is flatting, working, has a killer car, and a hot girlfriend whose rich parents don’t like him. He’s got racer friends, and they enjoy weekends partying, racing, and lazing at New Brighton Beach. The story’s conflict and rising action includes burglaries, car races, and police chases. A climax is reached when a holiday trip goes tragically wrong followed by falling action; a car written off, a death which profoundly affects the protagonist to the point of attempting suicide, and then a hopeful ending.

Style:
It is written in a descriptive way that provides readers with imagery of all the senses. But there is no wishy-washy family or in-depth relationship description; it flows in a fast-paced, teenage male manner with teenage dialogue.

Working with teenagers and quite often studying the Boy Racer phenomenon, I feel that they will enjoy this book as it is written from a teenage point of view.

 


 

Review By: Barbara Murison, AROUND THE BOOKSHOPS

Cam and his mates set off for a disused road just out of Christchurch hoping for a night of racing excitement, but with the over-hyped-up crowd and the powerful cars this turns in to a night of madness - of accidents and death.

While he was still in high school David Jubermann was fascinated by the idea of driving fast and faster, of customising cars and of the thrills and exhilaration of the life-style that goes with it all. However, the death of teenage friends in accidents made reality hit and this book was written as a bid to raise awareness of the waste of life this activity can bring. A sequel is in preparation and can be followed up on www.shiftlight.co.nz. This will also lead you to a hi-resolution poster that could be useful for a library display. I feel this is a book that, through its very down to earth language, speaks directly to its perceived audience. Year 9 up/Age 13 Up



 

Feedback By: Sally Caskey, Children's Librarian, Stratford District Library

I am a 46 yr old female, keen reader, new librarian, not a car fanatic and a mum. I purchased Shiftlight for the library and read it myself and have to say I think it is terrific. Despite the fact that all the car jargon went over my head, it gave me an appreciation of the depth of the "world" that these people immerse themselves in. Cars to them are as gardening and plants are to me. So anyway, despite this, I could still keep up with the story and it flowed at a perfect pace, with a perfect mix of romance, humour and action.

I am going to be recommending it at my next teen book club meeting for sure. I believe it is wonderful to read about things we don't necessarily do for greater understanding and it makes me remember the quote "Books are both a mirror and a window".

Well done.



 

Feedback By: Judy Dawson, Librarian, Paeroa College

Well your book is going down a treat here at Paeroa College so am writing to purchase another copy please. Was trying to get the English dept to get a class set but still working on that.



 

Feedback By: Joan Power, Librarian, Te Aroha College

I purchased this book in 2010 and have since had good reviews from students. I have been asked if there are any more novels that you have written since! One boy told me it is the best book he has ever read and couldn't put it down! I know that because the book now has fruitcake crumbs in it. However, a good result! Looking forward to your reply.