TitleOutlaw Girls

Authors: Emily Gale and Nova Weetman

PublisherText Publishing

Publication date: February 2024

Comprehensive teachers’notes and an excellent free activity pack for class use (with primary source material and activities) is available from Text Publishing here

Two girls, from two very different time periods, both reside in regional Victoria and are daring, not afraid to push boundaries and are highly skilled horse riders, come together in Outlaw Girls. This is a fast-paced historical fiction time slip novel by Emily Gale and Nova Weetman, published by Text Publishing for middle grade readers, 10+. This story brings a part of Australian history vividly to life. While transporting the reader into the past where economic and social values, ambitions and assumptions were different, there are connections and parallels that can be drawn. This is a story which entices readers to question how they would respond to the moral dilemmas the main characters face as they contend with loyalty, betrayal, inequality, justice, a fair go and retaliation.

Ruby Miles and her friends pass their days by seeing who can avoid getting caught at the local store after shoplifting. A bold plan to steal a tractor sees them caught by the police and Ruby’s mum insist on some distance between Ruby and her group over the school holidays. This means Ruby is to spend her break at her uncle Harry’s farm. The silver lining is that she will be able to ride Queenie, a horse she has a deep connection with.

This farm stay is like no other as a portal to another time, the year 1878 is discovered. It is through this portal that a very confused Kate, Ned and Dan Kelly’s sister, appears at the farm.

Kate needs to return to her time as she is working with her sisters to protect her brothers, Ned and Dan and the Kelly gang. Desperate to leave, she does so in the middle of the night. However, she is not alone, as an intrigued Ruby follows her and finds herself back in 1878.

The two girls find themselves traversing rugged, treacherous country on their horses and devising cunning plans to evade the police as they work together to drop supplies to the gang.

Ruby has the benefit (or is it?) of hindsight and is aware of the history of the Kelly gang. As historical events unfold (at Stringybark Creek and later the siege of Glenrowan), Kate believes together they can change the course of history. Can they?

This is a story which amplifies the voices of females, portrays the power, beauty and importance of female friendships where not only do the girls in the story teach each other lessons, they benefit from viewing life through a different lens and gaining a new perspective. Girls and women take centre stage in this book.

Outlaw Girls is the second in a series of co-authored timeslip novels by Emily Gale and Nova Weetman, with Elsewhere Girls being the first in the series.

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