Today we're excited to spotlight Antipodes by Michele Beacon! Read on for more about Michele and her book, plus a packing list for your trip through Antipodes & a giveaway!
Meet Michele Beacon!
When Erin Cerise steps off her plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, she is focused intently on her mission: do something unique that will erase the mess she made of her life on her 17th birthday. She’s already lost her swim team captainship, her boyfriend Ben, her shot at getting into an Ivy League school, and her reputation. Her mother is certain studying abroad will regain Erin’s chances of a good future. Once Erin sees her uninspiring host family and city, though, she’s not so sure.
Before Christchurch, Erin wasn’t always intense and focused. Years ago, studying abroad just sounded like a fun adventure, and the only ivy she cared about was the stuff growing around her grandparents’ back porch at their peaceful Upper Peninsula home. When had her priorities gone upside down?
Now Erin balks at NZ’s itchy school uniforms, cold houses, and her hosts’ utter inability to pronounce her name correctly. Christchurch does boast amazing rock climbing, gorgeous scenery, and at least one guy who could make her forget Ben if she lets him. With months ahead of her, Erin slowly begins to draw on the years behind her, one step back into her memories at a time. As she rebuilds her life from the other side of the world, she finds that when life turns your world upside down and you’re far from home, every way you move takes you closer to where you came from.
Perfect for fans of Just One Day and Anna and the French Kiss, Antipodes is a slice-of-life story that gracefully addresses real-world issues.
Packlist for Your Trip through Antipodes
In Antipodes, my second YA novel, ambitious American teen Erin Cerise has a horrid seventeenth birthday and wakes to find her carefully-designed life destroyed. To augment her flagging Ivy League prospects and rebuild some semblance of self-respect, she’s forced to study abroad in Christchurch, New Zealand.
When I moved to New Zealand five years ago, I painstakingly researched my journey. I weighed and tagged everything I considered packing to ensure I my luggage met weight requirements. Erin is nowhere near as meticulous as I, so she packs FAR too much stuff.
I’ve done the work for you. Here are eight essentials for your trip through Antipodes:
1.) Tramping Boots
To Americans, they’re hiking boots, but Erin wears tramping boots to explore New Zealand’s terrain. The Southern Alps extend much of the length of the South Island, which is itself one giant playground. Erin treks through mountains, beaches, forests, boulders, and sweeping vistas.
2.) Your Favorite Candy
Erin tries Hokey Pokey Squiggles, chocolate fish, and Hokey Pokey ice cream (and I taste-tested many, many other treats). If your favorite is Hershey’s, Snickers, or Haribo gummy bears, New Zealand has you covered. If you’re particular about sweets, however, fill your suitcase with whatever you cannot live without.
3.) Nose Plugs
I won’t to tell you why Erin needs nose plugs. She’s a competitive swimmer, so go ahead and assume they’re for the pool. (They’re not.)
Erin does swim in Christchurch’s pools. (And the Pacific Ocean, and the Tasman Sea and Golden Bay...) No matter where in New Zealand you travel, you’re never more than 74.5 miles from the sea. If you’re like me, you’ll want to play in it year round. Pack a swimsuit, find a fluffy towel, prepare a picnic, and enjoy every moment.
Safe sex is important to Erin (and should be to you).
6.) A Good Watch
Once Erin conquers jet lag, she must continually convert between local time in New Zealand and Chicago’s Central Time Zone, where everyone else she knows lives. Today, New Zealand is nineteen hours ahead of Chicago. You may think of that, instead, as a full day ahead and five hours behind (So, at noon Friday in the States, it’s 7 a.m. Saturday in New Zealand). That discrepancy shifts four times every year when America and New Zealand shifts clocks to and from Daylight Saving Time. To save yourself a lot of converting, pack a watch that indicates am/pm and day of the week, and set it to your own time zone. Your family and friends will thank you for not waking them with phone calls at 3 a.m.
6.) Rock Climbing Shoes
When Erin lands, she’s never been climbing. If you’ve any sense of adventure, you’ll yearn to scramble around cliffs, and boulder on huge rocks. New Zealand begs to be played in.
7.) Barf bag
If that’s too crass, call it an emesis bag, a sick basin, a hurl bucket, or a puke punnet. Whatever its name, you need a vomit receptacle to get you through the mountains. And if you’re going tramping, or you want to swim the Tasman Sea instead of the Pacific Ocean, or if you’re rock climbing somewhere in the middle of the South Island, you must endure a torturous ride through the mountains. I have three children, and each one vomited during a road trip through New Zealand.
8.) Telescope or Binoculars
These are optional. Erin loves astronomy, so she spends a fair amount of her journey studying the universe from Down Under. The South Island is so sparsely populated that light pollution is minimal. Lie in almost any open space on a clear night, and the universe will spread out above you. Marvel at the Milky Way. Drink in the view of thousands upon thousands of visible stars.
There you are! Your list includes nine items instead of eight because you’ve overpacked, just as Erin did.
No worries. In truth, your journey requires only a bookmark (or not. Several early readers have devoured Antipodes in a single sitting!) Happy reading, and happy trails. If you enjoy Erin’s adventure, send me an email or a tweet. I love hearing from readers and travelers alike.
By: Michele Beacon
Release Date: April 3, 2018
One winner will receive a hardcover copy of Antipodes (US only).