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2022 - Shortlisted
Dragon Skin by Karen Foxlee is a gripping and tense read. Pip’s bleak world is turned upside down when she nurses a baby dragon to recovery. In return, the dragon sparks hope for Pip as she tries to break free of a grim situation at home. Dragon Skin deals with issues such as domestic violence, and readers feel for Pip as she faces ever-present danger.
The novel is a seamless blend of fantasy and reality and Foxlee allows each scene to sink beneath the readers’ skin, painting a vivid picture of outback Australia. The book’s best moments are when Pip is with her friends — whether it’s her old friend, Mika, or her new-found companions, Laura and Archie — as they care for the dragon. The dragon leaves a mark on Pip and will do the same with the reader. Whether the creature exists or not is something to ponder, but this novel never ceases being raw and real.