The Text Publishing Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing has introduced me to some of my favourite writers. The first winner in 2008 was Richard Newsome, author of the brilliant Billionaire’s Curse Trilogy, and the second winner was Leanne Hall, author of one of my favourite books of 2010 called This is Shyness. In This is Shyness, Leanne introduced us to the suburb of Shyness where it’s always dark because the sun never rises. This mysterious suburb is home to all sorts of weird and wonderful people, including the Kidds who are hooked on sugar, the Dreamers, and Wolfboy. The story is focused on one night in Shyness where Wildgirl meets Wolfboy, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since I read it. Thankfully, Leanne wrote a sequel, which has just been released called Queen of the Night.
For six months Nia has tried to forget Wolfboy, the mysterious boy she met in Shyness. The boy who said he’d call but didn’t.
Then, one night, her phone rings. The things Wolfboy says draw her back to the suburb of Shyness, where the sun doesn’t rise and dreams and reality are difficult to separate. The Darkness is changing, and Wolfboy’s friend is in trouble.
And Nia decides to become Wildgirl once more.
Queen of the Night is just as strange, mysterious and wonderful as This is Shyness. It’s one of those follow-up books where you find yourself right back in that place you loved as soon as you start reading. I felt that same sense of fascination about Shyness and I wanted to know everything about this mysterious place. Some of the questions I had from the previous book were answered, but Leanne also added to the mystery and I get the feeling we don’t quite know everything about Shyness and the weird things that happen under the cover of constant darkness. There is still a lot we don’t know about Doctor Gregory and his strange experiments and I hope that we get to learn more about Diana. I loved being able to get inside Wolfboy and Wildgirl’s heads more in this book, and I really liked the ‘Inception’ vibe in the second part of the story. Like Wildgirl in the story, I got quite disorientated by Shyness. I would forget that just because it’s dark in Shyness, it could actually be mid-morning outside Shyness. If you liked This is Shyness you’ll love Queen of the Night, and if you haven’t read Shyness you need to get your hands on a copy. I hope that Leanne has more in mind for Wildgirl and Wolfboy because I’m certainly not ready to leave them behind.
5 out of 5 stars