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A daring escape. A school lockdown. A thrilling chase. What would you risk to save a life?

Sima and her family are pressed to the rough, cold ground among fifty others. They lie next to the tall fence designed to keep them in. The wires are cut one by one.

When they make their escape, a guard raises the alarm. Shouting, smoke bombs, people tackled to the ground. In the chaos Sima loses her parents.

Dad told her to run, so she does, hiding in a school and triggering a lockdown. A boy, Dan, finds her hiding in the toilet block.

What should he do? Help her? Dob her in? She's breaking the law, but is it right to lock kids up? And if he helps, should Sima trust him? Or run?



Tense and taut, Detention will have you on the run, minute by minute, with Sima and Dan, making you ask: What would I do if this were me?

Clare Atkins, author of BETWEEN US

Utterly believable. Felt like I was holding my breath from start to finish. Bancks champions the strength and decency of young people caught up in a harsh world not of their making.

Mark Smith, author of THE ROAD TO WINTER

A thrilling, heartfelt page-turner enriched by probing social commentary, Detention is essential for opening and fuelling dialogue about the asylum seeker and refugee situation in Australia . . . Detention tackles big, important issues without lecturing or talking down to [the] reader. In a world filled with toxic ideologies and divisions, Tristan Bancks shows young people have the courage to rise up and demand equality for all; to fight for human rights and ignore the banal politicising. And its breakneck pace means it’s almost impossible to put down.

Simon McDonald, writtenbysime.com

Detention is a raw and authentic exploration of human connection. An unlikely union, Dan and Sima are confronted with some life-altering decisions as they are thrown into a very dangerous situation. The novel challenges readers to think about the complexities of a world that deems what is ‘moral’ and what is ‘legal’ as being polar opposites. It is affirming in its representation of a younger generation able to grapple with such contradiction and to stand up for what is right, and leaves readers with a sense of optimism that things might one day change. Tristan’s writing is gripping, his characters are all-too real and his symbolic use of the Australian landscape is a powerful weapon he wields to make his readers look more closely at the world around them.

Megan Daley, author of RAISING READERS

Just wow! Once again Tristan has crafted a sensational narrative with high-impact tension and thought-provoking themes which will keep readers eagerly turning pages . . . As the plot unfolds the reader becomes completely invested in the characters that are realised with a deft portraiture which is compelling and emotional without becoming cloying or stereotyped . . . It's never been difficult to 'sell' Tristan's books to my students and now the ripple effect is evident as more and more share their recommendation with peers but this one will be a block-buster I foresee.

Sue Warren, losangzopa.wordpress.com

Detention was a privilege to read. It was confronting, powerful, emotion filled and an important story to tell. It reminded me that not all Australians live equally, and some people will do all that they can to be 'free' from the constraints of what one part of society accepts as OK . . . Tristan Bancks has tackled some big issues in a sensitive and respectful way . . . This would be a perfect book for a class read-aloud book because I believe it will provoke thoughtful conversation and open discussion.


This is a well-written, well-researched thriller from the author of Two Wolves and The Fall that will appeal to lovers of suspenseful stories aged 11+.

Angela Crocombe, readings.com.au

Superb . . . Books for this age group are rarely the focus of reviews on this blog, but I believe that this is such an essential read as part of any study about migration and refugees, it deserves all the publicity it can get.

Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian, thebottomshelf.edublogs.org

It is a thought-provoking story, really well written, with a satisfying and realistic conclusion.

Helen Eddy, ReadPlus

A sensitively written story that shows the humanity behind topics such as human rights and freedom.

Vicki Thornton, Magpies

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    July 2, 2019


    240 pages

    RRP $16.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    July 2, 2019

    Penguin eBooks

    240 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks

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