Gr 6-9-An exciting, well-crafted mystery intertwined with an intriguing view of family relationships. Kim Marriott, 11, narrates the tale that fascinates his small Australia town: the murder of an impoverished gold digger and the disappearance of his son and daughter. Rumored sightings of these ``wild children'' quickly follow. When first Leena, then Micky is captured and temporarily housed with Kim's family, he befriends them and-in a hair-raising scene-protects them from the dreaded ``Mister'' who attacked their father. Smoothly woven into the suspense is a thought-provoking look at family loyalties and interactions. Leena and Micky both parallel and contrast with Kim and his vibrant, rebellious older sister Julia; the neglect experienced by the ``wild children'' is in sharp opposition to the Marriotts' strict, overprotective upbringing. Angel's Gate is a rich novel that will appeal to a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. Characterization, setting, and plot development are outstanding. This is by far Crew's best book to date, and is a superb representation of contemporary Australian writing.-Ann W. Moore, Guilderland Public Library, NY
When an Australian gold digger is found murdered in the hills outside Jericho, the small town becomes obsessed with the dead man's missing children. Living on their own in the bush, the "wild children" refuse to be captured and remain unfed, unwashed, and without supervision. Kimmy, the 13-year-old son of the town doctor, is fascinated with them, and when the wild, withdrawn teenage girl is found and brought to Kimmy's father, Kimmy alone is able to establish contact. Meanwhile, Kimmy's rebellious older sister, Julia, is trying to grow up and away from the stifling life of the tiny community. With Julia's boyfriend, Bobby, Kimmy tries to find the missing wild boy before the murderer does. The clever plot leaves the reader in suspense until the end, but the novel is more a rich, introspective coming-of-age story than it is a murder mystery. Narrated by Kimmy, it unfolds with the hindsight and wisdom of an older person, yet still evinces the emotional turmoil of an impressionable, creative 13-year-old. Australian expressions and an undefined time period will deter some readers, as will the somewhat slow pace, but the intricate plot and fine writing will attract and hold the attention of thoughtful teens.