By V.M. Jones

ISBN13: 9781869508098

RRP $19.99




Josh Cranford loves running, soccer, cricket - anything, as long as it's sport.  Most of all, he loves to win.  Just one person stands in his way: super-jock Shane Hunter.  They clash head to head in everything, and Shane always comes out best...

Then along comes an off-the-wall new teacher, and a new challenge: the Energex Iron Kid Triathlon.  The perfect chance to take Shane on and come out on top.

Except Josh can't swim.  Never has - and vowed he never would.  If he's going to enter, he'll have to overcome his fear of water... and take the first step to confronting a secret buried too deep in his past to think about.

Josh's decision triggers the most important six weeks of his life - he not only has to learn to swim, he has to deal with his dad's new live-in partner, Suzanne.  And then there's his biggest and most painful secret of all... Buddy.

When Buddy was first released in 2002, Ian Sharp wrote in the Sunday Star Times that is was 'a remarkably assured first novel exploring difficult issues (puberty, jealousy, sexual stirrings, broken families, fear of failure)...mark[ing] the arrival of an impressive new talent.'  Buddy won the Junior Fiction section and the Best First Book Award at the 2003 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and was also shortlisted for the 2003 LIANZA Esther Glen Medal, has also been translated into Japanese, serialised ofr Radio NZ , and translated into Braille.

Now this much-loved New Zealand classic has been re-released with an added PS (post script) section featuring a snote from the author about writing the book: her influences and experiences as a first-time writer and subsequentlt as a pulished author.  The new PS section also includes reproductions of letters and comments sent to the author by children from around New Zealand who were particularly moved and inspired by the themes Buddy explores.


About the Author

V.M. (Vicky) Jones grew up in Zimbabwe.  She completed a BA in English, Archaeology and Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town and is a qualified gemmologist.  Vicky has lived in Christchurch since 1997.

Buddy, her first novel, and Juggling with Mandarins have both won New Zealand Post Junior Fiction awards.  Her fantasy adventure series, The Karazan Quartet, has been published internationally and translated into five languages.



Buddy is an absolutely superb novel for younger teens and even as an adult reader, I  was not only captivated by the story, but moved to tears on more than one occasion!  I'm looking forward to sharing it with my daughter and delving into the discussions which are sure to follow.

Vicky tackles a variety of difficult issues throughout Buddy but the greatest lesson the reader will learn alongside the main character is that winning isn't always the most important thing.

Unlike so many of the current popular novels for teens, Buddy is about 'real' people in a contemporary New Zealand setting that the target audience can easily relate to.  Vicky's writing style is easy to follow, immediately captivates the reader, and moves along at a good pace.

If you're looking for a down-to-earth New Zealand story to bring your young teen back from the world of fantasy, to get them thinking and talking (at minimum with their friends even if not with their parents) about ambition, diversity, honesty and loyalty, then Buddy tops my list of highly recommended for your family's bookshelf.



Reviewed by: Franciska

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