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2023 - Shortlisted
With danger at every turn and constant action that grinds to a dramatic climax, Wanderer by Victor Kelleher grips the reader from the start, never letting up on the drama, tension, and conflict. This novel stood out for its strong narrative voice and for its child protagonists who remain in control of their own destinies throughout. Theirs is a high-stakes, life-and-death struggle against the decaying, lawless world around them as they must battle and attempt to outwit adults, wild animals, and nature itself.
This middle-grade novel is set in a dystopian future where ocean levels have risen and society has crumbled. Young Dane and his new friend, Lana, must complete a perilous quest that focuses on special treasures: precious, rare books. And, yet, Wanderer is also much more than this. It’s a tale of friendship, courage, endurance, and a warning of what the future may hold for humanity.