“Youth suicide and school bullying is prevalent in our community. Australia has some of the highest rates of youth suicide in the developed world. In our quest for success and objects, we seem content to have left a whole lot of our youth behind,” author Kevin Burgemeestre told me.
His new YA novel, Kate, highlights, and deals with this issue as well as many others. Woven into this gripping fast paced story are many issues that youth face daily; drugs, bullying, child abuse, maintaining friendships, who to turn to when problems arise and much more.
These subjects, and how to help our youth deal with them are of great concern to the author. “A number of school councillors have told me that it is very difficult to gain the trust of children at risk. I was depressed to find that funding was put aside to put religious support in schools but then to cut councillors. I know how many kids struggle in schools if they are not inside the mainstream, are experiencing severe difficulties at home, or are dealing with bullying. These children are potentially at great risk, and a school environment can be toxic to someone who presents as different. They need support,” he explained.
Woven into the story are many messages that can help the YA reader. As the main characters deal with the danger they find themselves in, they learn many lessons that will be passed on to the reader.
In the beginning of the story, one of the main characters, Mal, is teetering on suicide. His dreadful history of abuse at the hands of his mother has crippled him and his quest for forgetfulness on the streets has led to his slow decline. His beloved sister’s appearance in his unstable, drug dependant life and her eventual death from a drug overdose was the final straw – his guilt is overwhelming. He is determined to end it all. Kate intervenes in the first scene of the book when she rescues his dog, Wilde, from his abusive behaviour. A series of events weave their fates together and Mal is forced to become her protector. Because of his behaviour, Kate’s life is under threat. Not willing to be responsible for another death, he fights to save her. His connection to Kate and his remorse about what he did to his dog is the start of his pathway back, but with their life under threat, they must run.
Kate was having enough problems before he came along. While dealing with the death of her mother and her best friend moving away, she had to avoid a bully who seems determined to undermine her confidence … and worse. He attempts to rape her. Her rescue by Mal creates a strange and dangerous liaison, drags her into his world, and leads to more danger.
This book is a riveting read and is ‘must read’ for all teenagers.
Kevin is coming to Brisbane to launch Kate in late February. His official Brisbane launch will be at Mary Ryan’s Milton store on February 27th at 6.15 pm. Popular Brisbane author Michael Gerard Bauer will officiate. The public is invited to attend and help Kevin celebrate the release of his novel. Bookings are invited. Phone Mary Ryan’s Milton to book.
He will also be signing books and presenting workshops:
Saturday February 22nd at 10 am
Dymocks Store Indooroopilly
Shop 3013 Indooroopilly Shopping Centre,
318-322 Moggill Road, Indooroopilly.
Sunday February 23rd at 10am
Big B Book Exchange
Shop 16, Big ‘B’ Arcade, James St, Burleigh Heads.
Tuesday February 25th 11am
Dymocks North Lakes
Shop 1142 Westfields North Lakes
Anzac Ave, Mango Hill QLD 4509
Wednesday February 26th 9am
Australian Writers Rock! Bookstore
CWA Hall, Eumundi Markets, Eumundi
While he is here, he has graciously agreed to share his vast knowledge of illustrating and writing in a workshop
that covers both.
CREATE A STORY IN FOUR PANELS
If you are writing a graphic novel, a chapter book or a picture book this workshop is for you.
DATE: March 1st & 2nd
TIME: 10 am to 12 noon – 1pm to 3pm
VENUE: The Memorial Hall Caboolture
For more details click this link: http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshops-list.html
Bookings are essential. This is a hands-on workshop, so places are limited. BOOKINGS ARE ROLLING IN SO DON’T LEAVE IT TOO LATE.
Don’t miss out on meeting this talented artist, writer and all-round good guy.
Check out his profile and the books synopsis at www.morrispublishingaustralia.com