Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare by Zillah Bethell

In a dystopian future where the world is at war over the scarcity of water, we meet Auden Dare. At just 11 years old, he has a lot to deal with: his father is away fighting, his mum is doing her best to look after him, prices of every day items are sky-rocketing and his uncle has died. Mum decides the best thing is for them to move to Cambridge and live in his Uncle Jonah’s cottage near the university.

Auden is unusual in many ways. He is incredibly bright and observant, he is brave and resilient, and he cannot see colour. Long ago, his uncle promised to come up with an invention that would help him. Now that he’s gone, is it too late?

When Auden arrives in Cambridge, it’s clear there are suspicious circumstances surrounding his uncle’s death. He and his new friend, Vivi, follow a trail of clues that reveal something they never expected. They need to stay one step ahead of others on the same trail in order to change the world and create a better future.

Zillah Bethell’s writing is completely mesmerising. Readers journey with Auden and Vivi through every new twist as they try to find meaning in what was left behind and work out how to proceed. Layer upon layer of thought-provoking detail – moving house, a new start, difference, bullying, environmental issues, poverty and loss -will push emotional buttons and challenge readers to dig deep into their own understanding and empathy.

The Shark Caller was one of my favourite books of 2021 so I was eager to read The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare. Just as powerful and just as wonderful, but so different, this is a story not to be missed!

Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon or

Books by Kate Heap:

Contemporary Children’s Literature: Years 3/4

Nonfiction: Years 5/6

Nonfiction: Years 3/4

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