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  • Published: 26 August 2015
  • ISBN: 9781775537687
  • Imprint: RHNZ Children’s ebooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

Being Magdalene

The gripping sequel to the award-winning and bestselling YA novels I am not Esther and I am Rebecca.

The gripping sequel to the award-winning and bestselling YA novels I am not Esther and I am Rebecca.

In this breathtaking follow-up to I am not Esther and I am Rebecca, Fleur Beale revisits the Pilgrim family and its closed religious community, The Children of the Faith.

Four years have passed since Rebecca ran away. The community simmers with tension and rumours of an approaching split, and life has become terrifying for Rebecca’s remaining siblings as Elder Stephen seizes any chance to take revenge on them. Twelve-year-old Magdalene lives in fear that her strong-willed little sister, Zillah, will be his next target.

The girls have run out of people who can protect them. To Zillah their path is clear but Magdalene is torn. How can she cause more hurt and shame for her parents? But, equally, how can she face a life with no freedom to be herself?

And another question scares her most of all. Without the elders’ suffocating rules that tell her how to live, who wouldMagdalene be?

  • Published: 26 August 2015
  • ISBN: 9781775537687
  • Imprint: RHNZ Children’s ebooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

About the author

Fleur Beale

Fleur Beale is the author of many award-winning books for children and young adults — she has published more than 40 books in New Zealand, as well as in the United States and England. A former high school teacher, Fleur was inspired to write her acclaimed novel I Am Not Esther when one of her students was beaten and expelled from his family for going against their religious beliefs. Fleur is a leading advocate for New Zealand authors, and home-grown literature for children and young adults.

Also by Fleur Beale

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Praise for Being Magdalene

...I think it's the best young adult novel I've ever read.

John McIntyre, Nine to Noon

Superbly written by Fleur Beale who keeps the tension on for the whole novel. Watching a family disintegrate is disturbing but the ending will bring tears to your eyes . . . You will not forget this novel in a hurry.

Bob Bocherty, Bob's Book Blog

The remarkable success of I Am Not Esther and its sequels lies in Beale's insightful ability to see shades between black and white, convincing us, for example, of Rebecca's twin's decision to stay inside the faith as much as her own to leave. While exposing the hypocrisy of those Elders claiming divine guidance, Beale allows other church adults to show compassion, wisdom and discernment in a fine balance.

Ann Packer, NZ Listener

written splendidly...quite unforgettable

Gisborne Herald

Fleur Beale has done it again. Being Magdalene is destined to be as big a classic ... an extremely tense read...this is the first time we encounter worldly people and their opinions of the cult. The doctors that see Magdalene are immediately suspicious of sexual misconduct, and violence within the cult: that’s what everybody thinks a cult is. This happens again and again, each time Magdalene has to interact with outsiders, they judge her before knowing her. Magdalene’s wounds are not on the surface however, they go much deeper than anybody realises until later in the book. I urge you to read this brilliant book about how the human spirit can triumph against adversary, and how people can heal themselves better than they know. It is a universal tale, told with clarity and grace.

Sarah Forster, Booksellers Blog

This compelling young adult novel is the sequel to New Zealand’s award winning author Fleur Beale’s I Am Not Esther and I Am Rebecca. The series is about life inside a religious cult. I’ve read all three books and they are all excellent...although they are aimed at young adults they have a far wider audience.

Linda Hall, Hawke's Bay Weekend

A book that I recommend should be on every teen's reading list this year.

Paula Phillips, Good Reads

Five out of five stars...Being Magdalene is my favourite book in the series; the ending seemed to tie things off so perfectly. By the end of the book I found myself attached to so many of the characters that I was worried that they might not get the resolution they deserved. I recommend that you get yourself a copy; it's thrilling, intriguing, and not a read to miss out on.

Tierney Reardon, Tearaway

I was trying to think up ONE word to completely describe Being Magdalene and after a little Google searching (oh how I love Google!) I came across the perfect word: SKOOKUM. By Google's definition, Skookum means, "as an adjective (of a person or animal) strong, brave, or impressive." And guys? This sums up Being Magdalene perfectly. As the third in the I Am Not Esther series (and I think the last book?) it delivers just as big as punch as the last two books, I Am Not Esther and I Am Rebecca have. Each story, although woven into each other intricately, is able to easily stand by itself and make you think, "Oh! This is as good as the last book! This is different but familiar and I LOVE it!"

Ella, Once Upon a Bookish Time


Catherine Robertson, Good Reads

I devoured it in a couple of days - it's one of those books you carry round with you to read whenever you have a spare moment. Strongly recommended for teens

Lorraine Orman, Good Reads

Beale is a seasoned hand at creating a believably heart-wrenching atmosphere around Magdalene, relieved by moments of simple, quiet joy. We feel Magdalene's dilemma, which is not about faith but about how to be the sister Zillah needs her to be without destroying her already fragile family.

Tatjana Schaefer, NZ Books

This awe-inspiring novel keeps you reading till the very last word, your anticipation is at its peak as you finish the final sentence. This story leaves you questioning the many different scenarios even after the last words have been read. . . . Being Magdalene definitely delivered the complex ending this series deserved and brought tears, happiness, fear and a lot of overwhelming thoughts. I highly recommend Being Magdalene for people of various ages and I can guarantee you will not forget this story in a hurry.

Emma Myles, aged 10, Hookedonbooks.org.nz

Awards & recognition

Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Award

Awarded  •  2016  •  A 2016 Storylines Notable Book

New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults

Finalist  •  2016  •  Finalist in the Young Adult Fiction and Children's Choice categories of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults

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