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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.


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

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