A high-drama read, full of twists.

Weekend Herald (NZ)

Speed of Light


In Joy Cowley’s Speed of Light, a strange old woman is  blown in to an affluent but dysfunctional family. When things go wrong, her influence is suspect.


  • Description

    Joy Cowley is one of New Zealand’s most beloved and award-winning authors. Speed of Light is a beautifully written and sophisticated novel about a family in crisis. The story explores themes of family, mathematics, weather and mystery.  Readers will enjoy the supernatural twists and unexpected humour.

    With a father more interested in money than family, a brother in prison, a sister with a secret, and a mother in denial, it’s no wonder Jeff buries himself in the safe world of mathematics.

    When a storm hits Wellington, a strange old woman is blown into Jeff’s life, challenging everything he thinks is true.


  • Book Details

    Country of Origin New Zealand
    Reader Age 11-14 year
    Book Size

  • Reviews

    1. Weekend Herald (NZ), November 2014

      A high-drama read, full of twists.

    2. Janet Croft Book Reviews (Australia), September 2014

      Excellent reading for girls and boys of 12 years and older

    3. Page and Blackmore (NZ), September 2014

      This a beautiful and humbling story of a teen coping, understanding the strengths and weaknesses in those around him, and ultimately a story about redemption and the ability to be better.

    4. Magpies (Australia/NZ), September 2014

      Jeff and the old woman are delightful characters and vividly alive. So too is the city of Wellington, and the advance of the storm, with its rages of rain, really does set the scene for tensions to rise.

    5. Waikato Times (NZ), August 2014

      [Jeff] is a thoroughly likeable young man, the setting is indubitably Wellington, the strains that threaten to tear this family apart are issues often seen in real life. Young to mid-teen readers of fiction who can relate to the demographic of the family in the story will find it a satisfying read.

    6. Bookrapt (NZ), Jean Bennett, August 2014

      Jeff is a gentle young man who learns to trust his own inner strength and stand up for what he believes is right. The skilful writing offers readers many layers of thought to consider.

    7. Booksellers NZ, reviewed by Tim Gruar, August 2014

      A delightful, understated story … If boys, who notoriously shun any emotive, sensitive literature can be encouraged to pick up this book, then there is some hope of getting through and perhaps changing a destiny or two. Let’s make that happen.

    8. Around the Bookshops (NZ), July 2014

      Sometimes when you finish a book you close it and walk away. Others you hold in your lap, reluctant to let the feelings and emotions it created in you die down. So it was for me with Speed of Light.

    9. Bob’s Books Blog (NZ), July 2014

      Sometimes families need rescuing from themselves. This is true of teenager Jeff’s family … it is drama of the highest level. For Intermediate and high school students.

  • Reviews

    1. Casanal

      I’m not finished but I’m already got my eyes stuck in it good book

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