'Home. Holidays. Free,' thought Ellis. Well not quite free, with university on the horizon. But free from school. Free, although his best friend is dead. Free to think about the future. Free to transform his life. When Ellis meets up with Jackie and three mysterious sisters, he is drawn into a number of increasingly bizarre situations. They introduce him to The Land of Smiles, where appearances are deceptive and being different is the norm. Ellis is sucked relentlessly into a drama from which he cannot escape. It's a matter of life and death, but time is against him. The clock ticks on. In twenty-four hours, Ellis is changed forever.
Received an Honour Award in the 2001 NZ Post Children's Book Awards Senior Fiction category.
Margaret Mahy was born in New Zealand and has loved telling stories all her life. She has published well over a hundred titles and won several major prizes and awards, including The Order of New Zealand, for her internationally-acclaimed contribution to children's literature. She has twice won the prestigious Carnegie Medal, (The Haunting, 1982, and The Changeover, 1984). Margaret lives in the South Island of New Zealand, in a house which she partially built herself, overlooking Governor's Bay.