Having always been short and a bit of a coward, Deborah Abela dreamed of being braver and stronger, which is probably why she writes books about spies, ghosts, soccer legends and characters good with swords who take on sea monsters and evil harbour lords. She is the author of the Max Remy Superspy series, Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) series, Ghost Club series, The Remarkable Secret Of Aurelie Bonhoffen, Grimsdon and New City. She’s won awards for her books but mostly hopes, one day, to be as brave as the characters inside. Deborah is also a Room to Read ambassador.
Gosh, THIS WOMAN. I think she, of all the authors I read in primary, had the most influence on me as a person and the things that I enjoy. This is all because of Max Remy.
Max Remy is an 11 year old schoolgirl (she turns 13 in part 10: The Final Curtain) whose workaholic PR mother leaves her with her eccentric uncle and aunt over the school holiday break.
Cranky and determined to have a bad time in the bush, she meets a farmboy called Linden, and despite Max’s reluctance to accept his friendship, she is soon won over by his charm and humour. She also discovers that her uncle and aunt aren’t country hicks, but brilliant scientists on the verge of creating a Time and Space Machine!
There are 10 Max Remy adventures in the series. In them, Max and Linden are invited to become part of the elite intelligence agency called Spyforce. As secret agents fighting bad guys across the globe, they are lowered into giant vats of green jelly, plunged into a terrifying Nightmare Vortex, swept over huge waterfalls and dangled from the top of the Eiffel Tower by an evil genius.
These books made me become a lover of the spy genre. I wanted to be a spy so much that I’d pretend I was one. I made my friends play along with me at school, and we’d choose a random group or person as our “target” and we’d pretend we were saving the world from them. Kinda creepy, now that I think about it…
But Max Remy was my idol. If there were any fictional character I looked up to the most in primary school, it was her. She was everything I wanted to be, but she also made me feel good about the things I felt made me different. I was always, and still am, a bit of a tomboy, but she taught me it was okay, that there was more to someone than how they looked. Red became my favourite colour because of her hair, and I swear to all deities I wanted pants like hers so badly that when I finally did and wore them, I felt so powerful. Don’t even get me started on the shirt-over-long sleeve combo.
I have so many fond memories of this book and I want to thank Deborah Abela for them. For making me feel good about myself, for sparking my imagination, for giving me my first taste in adventure stories, for teaching me to be observant of the world. Even for all the hours I’ve wasted (invested!) in spy films and TV series, and the action genre, in general, no matter how badly made.
My only disappointment is I’m not a spy. What’s up with that?