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Kaitangata Twitch by Margaret Mahy

Kaitangata Twitch (2005)

by Margaret Mahy

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Kaitangata Twitch is a contemporary story with a supernatural element about a family living on the coast of New Zealand. The Skerritts are opposed to the new council plans to reclassify the bay as "residential" - and are particularly opposed to the councillor Marriott Carswell, the redevelopment project's main instigator. While Mr Skerritt rants, Mrs Skerritt is resigned, teen-aged Kate wants to be a warrior and Rufus does his best to aggravate family arguments, Meredith is a dreamer. She dreams about the island Kaitanga - and sometimes, she feels as if Kaitangata is talking to her, in her mind. When Marriott threatens to build a mansion on the island Kaitangata, Meredith decides that something needs to be done.

Although this story's not particularly long, it covers a fair chunk of time, and it falls somewhere between children's and young adult literature. It's a coming-of-age story, about moving from childhood to adolescence. There's something poignant about Meredith's coming-of-age which really resonated with me. It is also a wonderful depiction of a family - there are domestic squabbles, music practices and washing up dishes, passionate family discussions and Lord of the Rings references.
Mahy has lovely original and subtly poetic quality to her writing. I love the specific vividness - Rufus flings out his arms "like sudden wings", Meredith's "wild, tall craggy father come[s] stalking out of the kitchen" and Kaitangata is Meredith's "favourite lonely place in the entire world".
So although this is strange, short and slightly sinister, I liked it. It's eerie, atmospheric, scenic, unusual, and satisfying. ( )
  Herenya | Nov 20, 2010 |
Meredith has strange dreams about the island of Kaitangata and has to tie herself to the bed to avoid sleep walking. Her father and sister are upset about the prospect of their semi-rural haven being developed and Meredith senses that the island is also uneasy. ( )
  RefPenny | Aug 2, 2010 |
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Flick! There it was again.

'Need!' whispered the voice. 'Need! Need!'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Can Meredith, the dreamer of her family, save the island of Kaitangata from an unscrupulous developer? Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.

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