> Skip to content

What would you do if you were told your best friend is now the enemy?

Charlie, Masa and Alf are best mates – loyal and adventurous. They’re the Fighting Stingrays.
In between school, swimming and fishing on idyllic Thursday Island, they have a ripper time role-playing bombing missions and other war games. But when Japan enters World War II, the Fighting Stingrays are told that one of their own is now the real-life enemy. Drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse in the Torres Strait, their friendship and loyalties are tested as the threat of invasion looms closer.

Reviews

This is a truly thrilling story of escape and survival, with subterfuge, near-misses, intense action and plenty of humour. It’s not just the war that threatens the trio, but the internal tensions in the group. The boys disagree, bicker and poke fun, but their bonds of friendship hold firm and are repaired in stressful situations. Mitchell does a fantastic job of describing Thursday Island of the 1940s – a melting pot of Aboriginal Australians, Torres Strait Islanders, Japanese, Chinese, Malay, white Australians and other cultural or national groups, all built around the lucrative pearling industry.

Leanne Hall, Readings

Highly recommended read for ages 9+. Adventure, Australian history and the power of friendship come together in this extremely engaging novel about a trio of boys living on Thursday Island during World War II. This is a truly thrilling story of escape and survival, with subterfuge, near-misses, intense action and plenty of humour.

Leanne Hall, Readings

Characterisation is flawlessly captured in this exciting engaging war adventure, in which there are no absolute winners or losers. The author captures the feel of the fear of imminent invasion perfectly ... This is a riveting adventure yarn about fortitude, survival and loyalty, for upper primary aged readers, particularly boys. Highly recommended.

Russ Merrin, Magpies

The novel's themes include how friendships are tested during war time and also how even strong relationships are influenced by the media of the day. With real historical events to draw on ... the author uses the perspective of the teenagers to describe life amidst the Defence Force on alert for an impending attack. The author uses colloquialisms of the day as well, which would make for an interesting comparative task. The story itself was highly enjoyable and would be a great unit for Middle Years students.

Clare Thompson, Read Plus

Read More

Formats & editions

Also by Simon Mitchell

Do You Dare? Tough Times 1931
Do You Dare? Tough Times
The Great Stinkathlon: Aussie Bites

Recommendations

Our Australian Girl: The Rose Stories
Our Australian Girl: The Lina Stories
Two Wolves
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
The Getaway: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (BK12)
Everything, Everything
Undercover Princess
I Just Couldn't Wait to Meet You
Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons series)
Boy Overboard
The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid
Jacky Ha-Ha: My Life is a Joke
Paper Planes
Brotherband 7: The Caldera
Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief (Book 1)
Friday Barnes 1: Girl Detective
Alice-Miranda in Hollywood
Last Chance
Magisterium: The Silver Mask
The Martian