Author(s): V.M. Jones
Juggling with Mandarins introduced Pip McLeod and his family - sports mad Dad who has a bit of an anger management problem, his soccer star brother Nick, his endearing baby sister Madeleine and his ever patient Mum. At the book's end Pip has finally established his individuality - and talent as a gifted climber, who is managing to finally climb out from under his father's overbearing shadow. But the story didn't stop there - and as Pip finds out, life has more than a few traps and pitfalls waiting for him - and his older brother. Once again Vicky has written superbly about the pangs of adolescence and growing up as Pip grapples with his brother's failure at school and increasing involvement in drugs, his own fumbling and ill-fated attempts to understand girls and re-evaluate his relationships with Beattie, his soul mate and climbing partner, and Katie, his childhood friend, who is growing into a stranger he no longer understands. And in vintage VM Jones style there is a well paced and exciting story, with superb action sequences where Pips skills are needed to save his father's life when he has to endure the McLeod family rite of passage - the dreaded deer hunt with Dad. First published July 2006.
Shortlisted for New Zealand Post Children's Book Award: Senior Fiction 2007.