Home > Realism, Senior Fiction, Young Adult > Bugs by Whiti Hereaka

Bugs by Whiti Hereaka

May 13, 2014

bugsBugs by Whiti Hereaka. Pub. Huia Publications, 2014.

“Its easy when its given to you – if you have to work for it, you treasure it”.

Bugs and Jez have been friends for yonks. They fit together like a hand in a glove, but now they are sixteen and in year 12 at school. Everyone tells them this is decision making time, your future is at stake. Its a growing up novel.

Bugs and Jez are intelligent and happy. Their relationship is innocent. They are both brought up by single mothers, Bugs in  a small house and Jez in a flat. Money is very tight and their own expectations of what their chances of success in life are low. Statistics tells them that Maori kids just don’t foot it after leaving High School.

Bugs has an excellent mother who works hard, keeps order and sets boundaries. Jez’s mother is unwise with men.

Into their lives comes very rich girl Charmaine who Bugs nicknames Stone Cold. She is European, has everything on a plate but lacks friends and meaningful social contact. To her parents she is just in the way. Farm her off to boarding school.

Bugs and Jez become her friends and it is this relationship that provides all the drama and helps shift the attitudes of all three characters through the novel. I liked all three characters, I wanted them to do well and I think they will.

Taupo is the setting and High school is the catalyst for change. I can tell you no more. Read it. It will blow your mind.

Whiti Hereaka has a refreshing no nonsense approach to her subject matter. She reminds me of Alan Duff in Once Were Warriors but the style is more readable. It is witty, it is hard hitting, it is passionate, it is funny and it is right on the nail. A good laugh at the end.

A worthy finalist in the NZ Post Children and Young Adults Book Awards and an essential purchase for every High School Library. If you don’t read this you deserve a kicking.


%d bloggers like this: