2021 - Shortlisted
Across the Risen Sea is a striking, original novel that offers readers a gripping adventure. The courageous main character, Neoma, lives in a world where the polar ice caps have melted and the sea has risen. Her community ekes out a living on a tiny island, not far from other island ‘nations’. When her best friend, Jag, is taken as punishment for a crime he didn’t commit, Neoma sets sail alone to save him.
Neoma navigates the world of adults and the fractured state of post-apocalyptic politics with rigour and aplomb far exceeding her years. Her characterisation is especially tangible to young readers, her dialogue unique and fitting to this futuristic water world. Her predicament – cut off from the world by the risen sea and living in an almost lawless society – holds a fascinating glimpse into the future. Although she battles for justice, Neoma remains at the helm of the adventure, something child readers will no doubt applaud.