Havelock North author Mary-anne Scott's debut novel Snakes and Ladders has been selected as a finalist in the Young Adult Fiction section of the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards 2013.
Published in May 2012, the book tells the tale of 16-year-old Finn Fletcher who lives in a remote coastal town, has a sort-of-girlfriend, is good at sport and plays a musical instrument.
He's also highly embarrassed by his parents. His dad's the local druggie and his mum ... well, she's just his mum who always wears the same clothes.
When Finn's father is charged with manslaughter, the family decides Finn is better off out of town. He is sent to a posh boarding school in Auckland where he has to deal with blackmail and bullies, all the while keeping a guilty secret.
But it's not all bad. He meets a gorgeous girl and makes new friends.
Wife and mother of four boys, Mrs Scott found out two months ago her book had made the final cut. However, the information was embargoed.
"It was really hard to keep quiet about it," she said.
"People have been asking me 'how is your book doing?' and I couldn't tell them about the award.
"I am chuffed, delighted. I now get the opportunity to take Snakes and Ladders into schools."
Mrs Scott said her book is doing well in New Zealand but even better in Australia, and is looking forward to the finals which she will attend in Christchurch om June 24.
School-aged children and young adults can vote for their favourite books from among the finalists for the coveted Children's Choice Award.