Bibliophile | ‘Royals’ takes ‘Lord of the Flies’ to the shopping centre

by Tegan Bennett Daylight
Simon & Schuster

It was 5.17 on a Thursday evening, when the shops should have stayed open for late night trading, but as the afternoon sun streamed through the glass ceiling above the second floor, no people could be seen in the usually busy shopping complex … not even shop assistants.

The shopping centre wasn’t completely empty because, there were some teenagers hidden in its unseen crevices. Shannon was trying to work out why her phone still read 5.17 and wasn’t working when Jordan, who was in a wheelchair, emerged from Myer. Then Tiannah and her cousin Grace emerged from City Beach where they had been trying to choose between crop tops.

James came out of Foot Locker, where he couldn’t afford to get the shoes he wanted, to find out what was going on and Akira came out of EB Games. The bewildered teenagers all collided in the Food Court and that is when they heard it – a baby crying in the Plat Gym next to the Food Court.

The curious thing was that they could hear and see people on the other side of the glass doors, but nobody was aware of them banging on the glass and shouting. The world was going on without them and they needed to work together to find a way to re-join it.

There appeared to be no way out and the downside was that they were disconnected from the outside world with no phone reception or Wi-Fi and, apart from having to take care of themselves; there was a baby to care for.

The upside was that there were no parents and no rules. The six teenagers in this modern day Lord of the Flies realised that they were in their dream place – with a limitless supply of their favourite foods and the freedom to explore all the shops in the centre.

This Young Adult novel has teenagers with varied backgrounds and persuasions sharing their different experiences, reflecting on their lives and working out how they can live side by side, as well as trying to work out the glitch that has isolated them from the rest of the world.

Lezly Herbert

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