Authors: John Marsden
John Marsden is one of the new breed of Australia's writers for young people: lively, fresh, provocative. Many young readers actually turn off the TV and leave their computer games to go and read John's books. And, for a number of them, they're the first books they've voluntarily read.
For those who love to read, and for those who hate to read,
will make it happen.
So Much to Tell You
The Great Gatenby
Staying Alive in Year 5
Out of Time
Letters from the Inside
Take My Word for It
Looking for Trouble
Tomorrow .Â .Â . (Ed.)
For Weddings and a Funeral (Ed.)
This I Believe (Ed.)
Prayer for the 21st Century
Everything I Know About Writing
Secret Men's Business
Marsden on Marsden
Tomorrow, When the War Began
The Dead of the Night
The Third Day, the Frost
Darkness, Be My Friend
Burning for Revenge
The Night is for Hunting
The Other Side of Dawn
The characters and events in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
First published 1996 in Pan by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Limited
St Martins Tower, 31 Market Street, Sydney
Copyright Â© John Marsden 1996
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.
National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication data:
Marsden, John, 1950â.
These electronic editions published in 1996 by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd
1 Market Street, Sydney 2000
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
All rights reserved. This publication (or any part of it) may not be reproduced or transmitted, copied, stored, distributed or otherwise made available by any person or entity (including Google, Amazon or similar organisations), in any form (electronic, digital, optical, mechanical) or by any means (photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise) without prior written permission from the publisher.
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This book is dedicated to Jane Blythe, Rebecca Breen, Vanessa Busacca, Rebecca Dunne, Jessie Ellis, Amy Gianfriddo, Sofia Goumas, Stephanie Harper, Betul Kasikci, Jordanna Lanyon, Nicole Le Sueur, Ferahi Mahmut, Jessica Mociak, Eve Murfet, Grace Nicastro, Linda Painter, Alissa Plowman, Marvina Tranchina and Melia Wong.
Thanks for the laughs, folks .Â .Â . guys .Â .Â . women of the nineties .Â .Â .!
I'm missing you already.
t's your new house. You're standing on the footpath looking at it. It's like, mega! The old house was the size of a caravan compared to this. So your parents have worked their butts off for twenty years just to pay the deposit! So the bank owns the whole place except the front doorstep and a bit of the carpet! That's cool. That's why you chose your parents in the first place: so they can give you everything you've ever wanted.
You walk to the front door. The drive's so long it takes you ten minutes, but you finally get there. You step onto the verandah. Hmm. You nearly stepped through the verandah. The floor's got more holes than a tennis net. Seems like this house might need a bit of work. You just hope you won't be the one who has to do it.
You take a look to the right and a look to the left. In both directions you see new houses. Lots of bricks. Grey bricks, pink bricks, red bricks, brown bricks. Neat lawns. TV aerials. Nice little trees. You take a look back at your house and sigh. Old faded timber, broken windows, ivy growing up the walls: three storeys of decay. You take a look at the garden. Blackberries, weeds, a dozen dead trees, and grass as high as your nostrils.
You have to be honest. It is a bit of a mess.
But, no doubt about it, it'll be exciting exploring this new place. You just don't know where to start. You stand there trying to decide. The house looks interesting, but so does the garden, with its wilderness of plants. It's hard to know which one you should go for first. Should you check out the garden, or go back inside and investigate the house?
ou start to fight your way through the garden. It's not easy. Seems like no-one's been in here for twenty years. And it's a big garden. Everything around here is big. This garden isn't so much a garden, more a rainforest. It doesn't need a whipper-snipper so much as a slasher-basher.
Suddenly something springs out at you from the bushes and you leap backwards. If there's a world record for jumping backwards you just broke it.
Then you realise it's only a cat, a scrawny black and white creature with a long tail. It glares at you for a moment before running away through the grass. You feel nervous, but gradually you get your breath back and continue on your way.
You get to the backyard. Down the end is a whole lot of old sheds that look interesting. At least the grass isn't so long here and you can see where you're going. But before you decide what to do, something else happens. Again something leaps out at you from the bushes and again you leap backwards in shock. Only this time it's not a cat. It's a person.
Yes, it's a girl about your age. She's wearing blue jeans and a grey T-shirt, with a message printed on it. It says: âLick it like you like it.'
She looks at you for a few minutes without saying anything. You stare right back at her.
âWho are you?' she asks.
âWho are you?' you say.
âI asked first,' she says.
You hesitate, not sure whether to be friendly or not. She looks OK, but on the other hand, what's she doing in your garden?