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About the book
  • Published: 1 August 2014
  • ISBN: 9781775535492
  • Imprint: RHNZ Children's
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $19.99

I Am Rebecca




Life inside a religious cult becomes too much for 16-year-old Rebecca when she finds out who she is to marry. An award-winning and thrilling sequel to the bestselling classic I am Not Esther, by the acclaimed Fleur Beale.

Life inside a religious cult becomes too much for 16-year-old Rebecca when she finds out who she is to marry. An award-winning and thrilling sequel to the bestselling classic I am Not Esther, by the acclaimed Fleur Beale.

Winner of a Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Award 2015

LIANZA Librarian's Choice Award 2015


When she turns 14, Rebecca will find out who she is to marry.

All the girls in her strict religious sect must be married just after their 16th birthdays. Her twin sister Rachel desperately wants to marry the boy she's given her heart to. All Rebecca wants is to have a husband who is kind, but both girls know the choice is not theirs to make.

But what will the future hold for Rebecca? Is there a dark side to the rules which have kept her safe? Can the way ahead be so simple when the community is driven by secrets and hidden desires?

Award-winning YA writer Fleur Beale's gripping sequel to the bestselling classic I am not Esther is a psychological thriller.

  • Pub date: 1 August 2014
  • ISBN: 9781775535492
  • Imprint: RHNZ Children's
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Fleur Beale

Fleur Beale is the author of many award-winning books for children and young adults — she has now had more than 40 books published in New Zealand, as well as being published in the United States and England. Beale is the only writer to have twice won the Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-Loved Book: with Slide the Corner in 2007, and I Am Not Esther in 2009. She won the Esther Glen Award for distinguished contribution to children’s literature for Juno of Taris in the 2009 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards. Fierce September won the YA category in the 2011 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards and the LIANZA Young Adult Award in 2011. In 2012 she won the Margaret Mahy Medal for her outstanding contribution to children’s writing and in 2015 she was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. In 1999, Beale was Dunedin College of Education’s Writer in Residence. A former high-school teacher, Beale lives in Wellington.

One of Beale’s most well-known books is I Am Not Esther, the story of a girl who is sent to live with relatives who are members of a strict religious cult. It’s a gripping psychological thriller that won an Honour Award in the 1999 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards and features in the latest volume of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up, produced by UK publisher Quintessence. It was reissued in 2012 and has been in print since first published. Magpies identified it as a novel that ‘will have relevance wherever there are attempts to control the minds and emotions of children’.

The sequel, I Am Rebecca, was published in 2014 to much acclaim — it was named a 2015 Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction book; was shortlisted for the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Young Adult category, and won the LIANZA Librarian's Choice Award. In a review for the Otago Daily Times, Rene Nol wrote that, ‘Good writing can reveal our prejudices as being the shallow things they are. Really good writing does that and entertains the reader at the same time. Such is the case with New Zealand author Fleur Beale's latest book, I am Rebecca...This is a tension-filled, thrilling read that affirms genuine belief while exposing hypocrisy.’
Being Magdalene followed in 2015, bringing the series to a riveting conclusion. Awarding the novel five out of five stars for Tearaway, Tierney Reardon avowed that ‘Magdalene is my favourite book in the series; the ending seemed to tie things off so perfectly’, and in a featured review for the New Zealand Listener Ann Packer judged that ‘The remarkable success of I Am Not Esther and its sequels lies in Beale's insightful ability to see shades between black and white…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.’ Being Magdalene was awarded a Storylines Notable Book Award in 2016.

The bulk of Beale’s writing is set in the contemporary world. Topics range from boys who fix up an old car to bash around a paddock with, a girl who must take over her father’s business until he’s well enough to take back the reins, to a story about a 15-year-old boy who is a top kart racer.

The New Zealand Listener has called Beale ‘one of the most consistently accomplished and versatile writers for teenagers in the country’.

A ‘strong storyteller’ (Trevor Agnew, The Press) who is ‘consistently engaging’ (Frances Grant, Weekend Herald), Beale is a popular participant in the Writers in School programme, testifying that she is ‘in touch with the modern young market’ (Northern Advocate).

Her entry in The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature noted that her characters are ‘intensely aware of their difficulties, social troubles and shortcomings’, and in so doing she exhibits ‘her understanding of teenagers, male and female, and ability to motivate even reluctant readers’.

Acclaimed as ‘a riveting futuristic story’, in the National Library’s Services to Schools review, Juno of Taris was likened to Bernard Beckett’s Genesis and the ‘classic’ The Giver by Lois Lowry. The reviewer concluded: ‘it is a brilliant story that completely enthralled me’.

The sequel, Fierce September, was named one of The New Zealand Listener’s ‘50 Best Children’s Books of 2010’, and North and South praised its narrative for its ‘compelling authenticity’, while the Otago Daily Times wrote: ‘The writing is tight; the characterisation credible, and the narrative exciting.’ The book’s innovative technique of opening each chapter with a blog commentary on events was widely acclaimed, the reviewer in Magpies commenting that the ‘cross-media technique of combining online blogs with traditional text…brings the book vividly into our world’.

Reviewing Heart of Danger, the concluding volume in the Juno trilogy, in New Zealand Books, Angelina Sbroma identified Juno as a ‘protagonist of wish-fulfilment fantasy in the grand tradition’, but for all that is still a ‘rounded character’. The book left Bob Docherty requesting a fourth volume..

Also by Fleur Beale

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Praise for I Am Rebecca

“a long-awaited and equally compelling sequel”

Weekend Herald

“A psychological thriller out of the top drawer with a stunning ending.”

Weekend Press

“Good writing can reveal our prejudices as being the shallow things they are. Really good writing does that and entertains the reader at the same time. Such is the case with New Zealand author Fleur Beale's latest book, I am Rebecca, the sequel to her bestseller of 16 years ago, I am not Esther. ... This is a tension-filled, thrilling read that affirms genuine belief while exposing hypocrisy.”

Rene Nol, Otago Daily Times

“This is the sequel to Fleur Beale’s young adult bestseller I am not Esther, published in 1998. I am Rebecca is every bit as good. The story stands alone, however I’m sure once you have read this book you will go looking for the first.”

Linda Hall, Rotorua Daily Post

“I Am Rebecca is an indictment of the manipulative power of such cults where the Leaders claim to be instructed by the voice of God, and the members are kept in isolation from the outside world and the opportunity to think for themselves. However, Beale is not disrespectful to those who willingly choose such a life. She is able to enter the minds of the young girls whose lives she is describing and tells of their concerns and beliefs convincingly. Beale's story is compelling and tragic; it moved me to tears.”

Margie Michael, New Zealand Books

“A riveting story of a teenage girl struggling to emerge from long-term repression and psychological abuse; it will surely become as popular as Esther's tale.”

Lorraine Orman, Magpies

“This novel is so good I read it in one day. Fleur Beale’s writing is powerful yet so simple. The sentences are short, the chapters are short, the subject is beguiling and the characters stand out like the figures on Mount Rushmore . . . Stunning stuff with a stunning ending.”

Bob Bocherty, Bob's Book Blog

“Fleur Beale is one of my favourite Kiwi YA authors...I am Rebecca is a follow-up to her bestselling book from1998, I am not Esther...At no stage in the book does Beale let up on the tension, as we follow the sisters through impossible situations with regards to the Rule regarding every aspect of the Children of the Faith and how they manage themselves. The sisters must abase themselves each time they need to tell their Father something, for fear of earning hours of prayer. The tension builds, with death, bad marriage matches and new babies adding to it, until Rebecca begins to doubt, finally, the wisdom of her elders...While I won’t tell you what happens, I will say that Rebecca is a strong and admirable character. You feel that Beale really lets you into the mind of somebody who has grown up within a strict environment such as The Children of the Faith. Beale’s books have dealt with cults several times previously, but always from theoutside looking in, so this is a refreshing point of view.”

Sarah Forster, Booksellers Blog

“From award-winning author Fleur Beale, I Am Not Esther and I Am Rebecca are gripping psychological thrillers that...[are] guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat.”

Girlfriend Magazine

“Page turner...Imagine if you weren't allowed to cut your hair, go to the shops or even look in a mirror. This is what life is like for 14-year-old Rebecca who lives in a strict religious cult and is about to be forced into marriage!”

Creme

“a compelling read”

Rochelle Gribble, Kiwi Families

“Fleur Beale has created a detailed and convincing picture of life in a patriarchal religious community, and her characters are well-described and convincing. Rebecca is a sympathetic narrator who finds herself in an intolerable situation. The moral and ethical dilemma facing Rebecca is a genuine one. The closing chapters of this book are some of the most moving passages in New Zealand children’s literature.”

The Source

“gripping”

New Idea


Awards & Recognition

  • LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards

    Winner • 2015 • Winner of the LIANZA Librarian's Choice Award

  • Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Award

    Awarded • 2015 • Winner of a Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Award

  • LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards

    Shortlisted • 2015 • Shortlisted for the Librarians' Choice Category of the LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards

  • LIANZA Young Adult Fiction Award

    Shortlisted • 2015 • Shortlisted for the Young Adult Category of the LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards

  • New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults

    Shortlisted • 2015 • Shortlisted for the Young Adult Category of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults


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