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Ash Road

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  207 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Graham, Wallace, and Harry will have one glorious week of pure freedom in the outback. No teachers, no school, no homework, no parents breathing down their necks! The boys are elated until they accidentally start a fire that quickly gets out of control in the dry underbrush. No one is prepared; no one can quite believe what is happening. As the adults in a nearby town bumb ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by Front Street, Incorporated (first published 1965)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Daisy May Johnson
Written in 1965, and winning several awards and being reprinted in a lovely edition by Text Classics, Ash Road is a visceral and brutally evocative story of the impact of an Australian bush fire on its rural community.

It starts with a group of boys on holiday from school, camping out in the bush, on their way to visit a friend. A fire is lit one night and in the bone dry landscape, it swiftly gets out of control. We then follow the impact and the route of the fire, switching from viewpoint to vi
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

The boys never meant to cause trouble. They’d planned to go camping, but somehow the fire got started and soon all the lives and possessions of everyone along Ash Road were in jeopardy.

An amazing story of adventure and survival as a wildfire sweeps through the countryside.

To share the language of the book, here’s a little excerpt:

“(The fire) came upon (Grandpa’s) vision as something living and evil, shapeless and formless, constantly changing, huge beyond comprehension: an insane creature of i
This was a powerful, exceptionally written and suspenseful story of the impact of a bush fire in the Australian outback accidentally started by three boys on a camping holiday. Perfect for teens and young adults.
Jul 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Such descriptive language! You can feel, hear and smell the fire. Gripping last few chapters; perfect last line.
Louise (A Strong Belief in Wicker)
Ash Road is a fabulous read, a somewhat neglected Australian classic, although happily recently rereleased as part of the Text Classics series. Three boys go camping in the searing heat of an Australian summer and accidentally start a monstrous bushfire. As relevant and approachable to modern readers as it was in the 60s. I'm very glad to have read Ivan Southall, who is still the only Australian ever to win the Carnegie Medal- for Josh in 1971, which of course I am now keen to read.

Read for Just Read readathon - sponsored by Dani Valent.
Utterly terrifying - I was in a state of high anxiety from start to finish. Southall is particularly great, and accurate, on how logic shuts down in panic situations; excellent research (or lived experience). The style is pretty archaic and stiff, which I found alienating.
Christina Packard
Ivan Southall sure knows how to write a story! Every page and every line took me further on and on wanting to know how will it end. He characters create every emotion which wore me out. It was all very real to me. Almost everything was told by the end as to what happened to each individual. I am looking up other books my Southall... this is what an entertaining book should be.
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three boys go camping and accidentally start a bush fire, the effects on the community and the boys are life changing.
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully crafted description, particularly the descriptions of the fire. My favourite page was the last one!
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The littest book (literally)
Amber Scaife
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Three boys go camping for a week on their own and accidentally start a fire that sweeps through the dangerously dry outback. The story follows the actions of several families living along Ash Road, how the adults seem to bungle through their instincts to help, and how a handful of children are left alone and possibly trapped by the oncoming flames. A YA thriller, I suppose, but without much in the way of thrilling bits. The writing needed to be more immediate and intense, I think, to pull it off ...more
Sam Anly
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anne Cheal
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read it first as a 9/10 year old, and re-read several decades later. Loved it then and it still stacks up.

Angie Ryan
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really hard and devastating book, but so very powerful and well written!

I recommend this hands down to anyone wanting to understand the impact of bush fires, it really helps you to see the truth of fires in bush towns.
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Ivan Southall was an award-winning Australian writer of young-adult fiction and non-fiction. He was the first and still the only Australian to win the Carnegie Medal for children's literature. His books include Hills End, Ash Road, Josh, and Let the Balloon Go. Also notable is Fly West, a book of true stories based on his experiences flying in Short Sunderland flying boats during the Second World ...more

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