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today 6/2/16 on aobibliosphere™ [aobibliospotlight™: A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart]

Monday, August 13, 2012

Marita A. Hansen & her edgy YA fiction

Graffiti Heaven
THE BOOK EVERY TEENAGER WILL WANT ...to hide from their parents.
A group of high school students deal with sex, love, bullying, family and betrayal. (Edgy YA)
Life is turned upside down for Ash Rata and Tiana Lilu after they skip school to take their relationship to the next level. When their family and friends find out, they are forced to deal with rumours, bullies, an overprotective brother and mortified parents.
Amongst the turmoil Ash grows closer to his stepdad, learning to trust again after years of holding a grudge against his jailed father. But following a guys’ night out together, Ash’s life is shattered when he wakes up in hospital to be told his stepdad has done something unforgivable. Traumatised, he pushes everyone he loves away, terrified that they will discover what really happened that night.
Set in the year 2000, ten years prior to Behind the Hood, Graffiti Heaven is the first in a series that follows Ash Rata's teenage years, a coming of age tale where both comedy and tragedy battle it out on a New Zealand stage.
5-star review from Denna Holm:
“Talented new author Marita Hansen is an expert at getting inside the mind of her characters. She takes a firm hold of the reader and drags them kicking and screaming into the pages with her. Not always pleasant and many times downright cringe worthy, she takes us inside the lives of four troubled teenagers. Their souls are laid bare to our eyes, every motive, good and bad, exposed, their deepest, darkest secrets held under a magnifying glass. They live in a hypocritical society, one where people prefer to stay blind to the truth and are quick to point fingers away from themselves. Often time unforgiving, a fist is the weapon of choice when it comes to handling disagreements and real, or imagined, transgressions. I found Graffiti Heaven as passionate a read as her debut novel Behind the Hood, perhaps even more intense because the characters are so young. Sixteen should be a carefree time in the lives of these teenagers, one of growth and change, of first love, a first kiss, friendship and trust. Instead we are shown a realistic view of intense conflict and pain, as much internal as external. Enter Ash, Tianna, Levi and Jenna's world, where dysfunctional families are the norm, jealousy dominates, and one dangerous paedophile lies hidden amongst them. Loyalty and trust will be tested and fail, misunderstandings common. Expect a change in the way you've always viewed the dangerous and chaotic world our teenagers must find a way to survive in today.”
where to purchase the book:
Behind the Hood
In this South Auckland neighbourhood where gang culture, drink, drugs, sex and violence is already a way of life, a vicious attack on a teenage girl sparks a ripple effect of revenge and fury. Live the carnage through multiple viewpoints as the tale unfolds to a bloody climax. NOT for the fainthearted.
5-star review from Angela Reed:
"Fast-paced, intense, unputdownable, urban fiction at its best. A must read. I can't compliment this book enough. It had me on edge, and even crying over one scene.
Each chapter is done in a different voice of which ever character is followed, from the young girl in chapter one, the selfish gangleader in chapter two, the teenage father struggling to support his young family, the schizophrenic mother, and so forth. You're given insights into varying characters and how the attack has affected them.
Set in South Auckland, this book gives you a view of New Zealand very few people have seen since "Once Were Warriors." Like Alan Duff's book it touches on serious issues, such as gangs, domestic violence, suicide, etc. It also contains realistic dialogue, but I believe the similarity ends here. The writing is nothing alike, and "Behind the Hood" is much faster paced, with a clever plot that weaves the different lives together until they coalesce into an explosive climax. And even after the clash happens, the author continues with surprises, the last chapter brilliant and obviously a lead into book two. Loved those two scenes, loved the dialogue. Very clever.
And like the book says, this is not for the fainthearted. It's raw, pulling no punches. Instead, it keeps knocking you out with one thing after another. But, everything is done so realistically that at times I wondered whether the author had lived some of this. Very authentic.
All up, I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes a huge hit. It should. Can't wait until the sequel "Behind the Tears" is out."
where to purchase the book:
about the author:
Marita A. Hansen
Marita A. Hansen was born in New Zealand. aside from writing, she creates artwork (including her book covers) and coaches youth football. she currently lives in Singapore and will be back in the land of the long white cloud in early 2013.
follow her on the web:

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