Surf Riders Club #2: Bronte’s Big Sister Problem by Mary Van Reyk

brontes big sister.jpgTitle: Surf Riders Club #2: Bronte’s Big Sister Problem

Author: Mary Van Reyk

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Publisher: Lothian/Hachette

Published: 27th February, 2018

Format: Paperback

Pages: 135

Price: $12.99

Synopsis: The Surf Riders Club is back! And Bronte has a problem – a big sister problem!

How’s Bronte supposed to catch waves when she keeps fighting with her big sister? She always wanted to be just like Carrie, but now they are growing apart. Bronte wants to do her own thing, but Carrie thinks Surf Riders Club is lame.

Now Bronte is torn between her friends and her sister. Will she get it together in time for the Beachcrest Carnival surf comp?

Ava, Alex, Bronte, Janani and Molly formed Surf Riders Club to help each other practise, but it has quickly become much more than that. Whether it’s learning how to get barrelled, problem parents or annoying boys, Surf Riders Club are there for each other, no matter what.

Officially endorsed by Surfing Australia and includes a special message from Tyler Wright, 2016 WSL Women’s World Surfing Champion.

‘kicks off in a very promising manner . . . Highly recommended for upper primary/early secondary readers.’


AWW-2018-badge-roseThe second in The Surf Riders Club series focuses on Bronte, and the problems that come with having a big sister. Carrie is seventeen, and almost finished high school. Carrie’s obsession with boys, parties and being social hasn’t rubbed off on Bronte, who would rather surf and hang out with her friends and prepare for the Beachcrest Carnival surf competition. While Carrie tries to set her boyfriend’s younger brother up with Bronte, Bronte keeps trying to find a way to please her sister and keep herself happy. When her parents punish Carrie for breaking curfew, Carrie decides to use Bronte as a cover for going out when she’s not meant to. The arrival of their older brother, Oscar, helps a little, but no completely. What will it take for Carrie and Bronte to see eye to eye?

Like its predecessor, Bronte’s Big Sister Problem presents its titular character with a problem that children and teens might face with friends or older siblings that readers of the series can relate to, such as moving away, or conflicts over interests with siblings – what a sibling might want you to do to keep them happy, and trying to find a way to compromise and make everyone happy.

Surfing is a main theme of the story again, and Bronte is a little more into it than the other characters, so seeing it through her eyes, it was a little more pronounced. Though simply told, the conflict with Carrie was interesting and gave the story some more interest than just the surfing, though girls who enjoy surfing will like seeing characters like themselves taking part in an activity they may not have thought about doing.

The story is complex, but the language is simple, aimed at primary school aged children, and early high school aged children. it is written in an accessible way for all readers, reluctant and confident, and will hopefully encourage reluctant readers to try reading, and help those struggling to gain confidence in their reading abilities. I enjoyed the themes of friendship and family the most, and loved the diversity of characters – just a simple mention acknowledged them and worked brilliantly.

Highly recommended for ages seven and older.


Ava’s Big Move by Mary van Reyk (Surf Rider’s Club #1)

Ava's big moveTitle: Ava’s Big Move (Surf Rider’s Club #1)

Author: Mary van Reyk

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Books Australia

Published: 12th September, 2017

Format: Paperback

Pages: 129

Price: $12.99

Synopsis: Join the girls as they take on the world, one wave at a time!

Meet five very different girls with one thing in common: they’ve caught the surfing bug!

Ava has grown up in a big city. But everything changes when her parents decide on a sea change – they’re moving to the small town of Beachcrest to open a cafe. Ava will be starting high school that year, and now she has to say goodbye to her life in the city. Her new school is very different and Ava misses her friends. When she hears that surfing is going to be offered as a sport for the first time, Ava uses her snowboard skills to give it a try. Not everyone thinks she can become a surfer but Ava is determined to prove them wrong, and she’s making new friends along the way!

Ava, Alex, Bronte, Janani and Molly form the Surf Riders Club to help each other practise, but it quickly becomes much more than that. Whether it’s learning how to get barrelled, problem parents or annoying boys, the Surf Riders Club are there for each other, no matter what.


aww2017-badgeWhen Ava’s parents decide to move to a coastal town, Ava is distraught at the thought of leaving her school and her friends, and having to start over in a place where she’ll be the outsider. She has always been close to her older brother, Shane, who spends the summer teaching her to surf and body board at the local beach before school starts, prompting her to join the surfing sports club at school with a group of girls who immediately pull her into their circle: Alex, whose bubbly nature and kindness is instantaneous, Janani, whose Sri Lankan parents run a restaurant, and is part of the circle as a body boarder, Molly, whose mother is vehemently against her taking up a sport and would rather she spends her time on the piano, and Bronte, with two older siblings and parents who own the local surf shop, Ava finds friends, even though at first, she is unsure about Bronte until the girls start hanging out at Ava’s parents cafe and spending their weekends surfing together.

Aimed at children ages seven years and older, it is written for readers of all reading levels, from those who may need help to those who can read alone, and deals first and foremost, with friendship and acceptance. The surfing comes later, and whilst it forms the backbone to the friendship group, it is not the be all and end all, which is nice, as it presents opportunities for exploration of characters and relationships.

It is simply written, so it’s easy for readers starting to read alone to get through, but also a good book for not so confident readers to test themselves out on and learn to read longer books than they might normally be reading. For someone like me, who has been reading much longer books since I was quite young, it was a quick, two nights read. The surfing aspect wasn’t as interesting to me as it will be to some readers, but I did like that it had themes of friendship and acceptance, regardless of who you are and where you are from. It dealt with the idea that girls shouldn’t surf, perpetuated through some of the secondary characters, but will hopefully encourage girls who do want to surf that they can do it, and overall, I think sends the message that anyone can do anything they desire, and they shouldn’t allow people to put them down.

An enjoyable novel for young girls aged seven and older, and especially for those with an interest in surfing.