A blog of endless curiosity
This is a killer teen novel set in a small Australian country town that carries more brooding tension and undercurrents of violence than it should be possible for a sixteen year old girl to deal with. Rebecca is left at home alone while her truckie step-father takes off on a long-distance delivery trip so he can continue to provide for their very un-nuclear family of two.
Rebecca has been a victim of malicious gossip in the town since her mother died – no one believes a teenaged girl living with a man who’s not her real dad isn’t being somehow taken advantage of. She gets a reputation as the town slut, despite the fact that she is obviously shy, and gets odd looks from boys and men a lot older than her.
When she agrees to drive her crush Zach’s mother into town, she becomes the last person to see her alive, and Rebecca is caught up in an adult world she has no protection or escape from. Until she meets Zach’s older half-brother, whom she falls for in a big way.
This is a dark, driven novel that reminded me often of Sonya Hartnett’s Sleeping Dogs. Rebecca is a believable teenaged character, swinging between dangerous naivety and unexpected maturity, and the characters around her are so well filled out and fascinating that this is an extremely hard book to put down.
This is a book which offers complexities enough for an adult reader whilst also tackling issues that will illuminate the formative nature of teen-hood for young-adult readers.
It’s due out in July.