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Magic, mermaids, friendship and found families ripple through this charming adventure set in a haven for disabled people
March 2022 Debut of the Month
Lisette Auton’s The Secret of Haven Point is an accomplished, inclusive, captivating debut that will chime with fans of lyrical adventures and disabled readers longing for literary representation.
All Alpha Lux has known is Haven Point. Washed up here as a baby, she was raised by a mermaid, and is now one of 42 Wrecklings who reside in this special home: “You see, everyone who finds this place and becomes a Wreckling is disabled. If you’re not, you’re an Outsider, and no Outsider has ever made it past the Boundaries”.
Alpha, her best friend Badger (so named for her “pitch-black Afro with one white streak”), and the other Wrecklings spend their days looting ships like “seafaring Robin Hoods”. Their routine is “ruled by the moon and water” under the watchful eyes of the Cap’n and a clutch of mermaids, away from the feared Outsiders. The sense of having found a loving family is wonderfully evoked, with plenty of wit and mischief alongside the warm sense of community. Then, when Alpha suspects their safe world is about to be infiltrated by Outsiders, the Wrecklings face big questions around who they are, what they want, and what they might have to do to protect themselves.
Through well-plotted adventure and rich symbolism, this speaks to readers on many levels, and is sure to charm fans of Katherine Rundell. “We’re proud to be Wrecklings”, Alpha pronounces, which pretty much sums up this novel’s heart-warming message of inclusion and finding a place to call home.
On The Secret of Haven Point, Lisette says: “I wrote a terrible book, set in the Victorian era, in London. I was kindly and gently told I could write, but maybe I needed to find something I really wanted to write about, not the thing I thought I should. So here it is, my heart-song, the book I wished I’d been able to read. It is proudly set in the north east with a cast of disabled characters having one heck of an adventure, bringing the two most important aspects of my identity front and centre. Then, obviously and why not, I added fierce mermaids and a captain with a kitten in his beard. I wanted to write a book where every child gets to be the hero, not the sidekick or evil villain, a book that says your words are important too – please write them. I hope that readers will laugh, cry, cheer on the Wrecklings, want Alpha and Badger to be their friends, to go off on adventures, and most of all, know that they are important and wonderful, exactly the way they are.”
A stunning literary adventure from an incredible debut talent, perfect for fans of Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Cerrie Burnell and Katherine Rundell.
I was Haven Point's first Wreckling, but I certainly wasn't the last. There are forty-two of us now, not including the mermaids. When you're a Wreckling, you mainly spend your days squabbling, eating and planning adventures. Oh, and Wrecklings also carry out wreckings, which is how we got our name . . .
Washed up as a baby beside a remote lighthouse and raised by a mermaid, Alpha Lux was the first foundling at Haven Point. Now the lighthouse is a ramshackle home for any disabled person who needs somewhere to belong.
Looting from passing ships to make a living, they call themselves the Wrecklings, and for the children of Haven Point life is spent adventuring on the wild shore (and getting into trouble with the grown-ups). But when Alpha spots a strange light up on the headland, she realizes that her beloved family are in danger of being discovered by Outsiders.
With their home under threat, the Wrecklings must decide what kind of future they want . . . and what they're willing to do to get it.
A charming tale of found families and mermaids, with my favourite kind of hero at its heart - Elle McNicoll, award-winning author of A Kind of Spark
|Publication date:||3rd February 2022|
|Publisher:||Puffin an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's UK|
|Year Groups:||Key Stage 2|
|Topics:||Adventure Stories, Disability / Special Needs, Family / Home Stories, Fantasy / Magical|
Lisette Auton is a disabled writer, activist, poet, novelist, spoken-word artist, actor, film & theatre-maker and creative practitioner. She's an award-winning poet who has performed at Northern Stage, ARC, The Southbank Centre and the Sage, in pubs, in a crypt, at festivals, indoors, outdoors, on a bridge and in a launderette. The Secret of Haven Point is her debut novel.More About Lisette Auton