Jessica Watson sails into
young adult fiction

Indigo Blue

By Jessica Watson, Lothian, 250pp, $15.99 paperback $9.99 ebook Review by Jennifer Moran
She’s famous for her non-stop, unassisted circumnavigation while 16 years old – but Jessica Watson’s new horizons, a website and her writing, are sure to bring her new followers.

In Indigo Blue, Watson’s young adult novel, fable, history and adventure combine to make an intriguing story that’s perfect to read over a weekend by the water.

Alex, whose mother died when she was a toddler and whose father has to take up a job in the United States just when she is due to start Year 12, is Watson’s plucky protagonist. Alex is shipped off to her aunt in Boreen Point in Queensland to finish school, now conveniently more or less in charge of her own decisions.

On the first day at her new school she distracts herself with the advertisement she is carrying in her text book - a small yacht is for sale and by the end of the day the boat is hers, purchased with the money she’d been saving for a car. Indigo Blue is the yacht’s name and Alex looks forward to fixing her and sailing her with the expertise gained through whiling away a lot of time over many years in a yacht club in Sydney.

When she visits the sailmaker to get her old sails repaired, she meets Sam, the sailmaker’s apprentice with his “oddly thin and angular” eyes and strangely pointed ears.

Sam has a secret life and it is Alex’s discovery of this other world that both cements their friendship and provides one strand of the intrigue of Watson’s story.

School is just background noise for most of Alex’s year as she becomes closer to Sam and tests her beloved Indigo Blue. Her friend Sophie carries the weight of their combined school assignment until they discover the ruined mill and Alex finds an old diary in a log near the water.

Suddenly the strands of Alex’s life seem to be coming together and she has good reason to try to understand her new home’s history.

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