Post Script: Graffiti Moon – Cath Crowley

Cover Graffiti Moon Cath Crowley

Graffiti Moon

Cath Crowley

Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd

ISBN: 9780330425780

 

Description:

Lucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist.

Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose.

Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn’t the best way to show it.

Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other.

An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be.

A lyrical new YA novel from the award-winning author of Chasing Charlie Duskin and the Gracie Faltrain series.

 

 

My View:

Before I start my review I would just like to mention that this book has won or been nominated for a massive number of awards, I am just one of many singing praises for the beautifully written book:

Literary Awards:

New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award for Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature (2011), Children’s Book Council of Australia Award Nominee for Older Readers Book of the Year (2011), Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Young Adult Fiction (2011), Victorian Premier’s Literary Award Nominee for Prize for Writing for Young Adults (2011), The Inky Awards Nominee for Gold Inky (2011)  The Inky Awards Shortlist for Gold Inky (2011).

 

This book is a beautiful coming of age story that is the perfect pick me up for any waning spirits – full of lovable characters, complex yet not complicated issues, full of big ideas ( the images/art work descriptions here are poetic and beautiful and sad all at the same time), some great descriptive prose, colours, colour and more colour. I loved it. No need to say any more 🙂

 

 

 

Post Script: Summer’s Gone – Charles Hall

 Take a journey with me…

Cover Summer's Gone

Summer’s Gone

Charles Hall

Margaret River Press

ISBN: 9780987561541

 

Description:

One short, beautiful summer of love, and then a tragedy – and the Vietnam War – will drive four friends apart.

But nothing is straightforward about what has come between them. And nothing is clear, really, until years later, when Nick goes back to where it all happened and trawls through his memory to put the pieces together.

 

Charles Hall’s novel tells a very personal story set in Australia in the rebellious days of the 60s, a decade of upheaval, when one’s own journey was intensified by the politics of the world – civil rights, feminism, drugs and, at the heart of the upheaval, the Vietnam War and conscription. It was a time of uproar on every level – families, music, film, relationships and a belief that not only did the world need changing but that ordinary people could change it…

 

 

My View:

 

This reads as an intimate, personal account of life, a coming of age story set in tumultuous times of the late 60’s early 70’s; written in the first person, it feels like the protagonist Nick/Nicko is talking directly to you, sharing his experiences, his personal growth, his relationship ups and downs… and his political thoughts.

 

Some small part of me identifies very strongly with this era (I missed being part of what became affectionately known as the psychedelic /free love/hippy era by a mere decade or so), I was a teenager challenging my own world as this comets tail was in its death throes. But I had aunts and uncles that grew up in this time and I witnessed some of their “freedoms” enviously. As a teenager with limited experience of the world I thought they were so lucky. I love/d the music, the fashion (the wide, wide legged flairs) peace signs on jeans, necklaces, bracelets, denim was king, bold blue eyeshadows and big eyes, big hair, fun…passion, the beginnings of feminism and the rise of equal opportunity. I was too naïve to appreciate that all this “freedom” came with a cost – the threat of conscription was very real, I found it incredulous that conscientious objectors were thrown in jail, no freedom of expression, personal rights here. The sexual revolution came at a high cost too – for some women the cost of not having freely available, stigma free contraception meant experiencing the backyard abortionists – some did not survive this experience. Attitudes and laws had not caught up with this new culture of freedom the 70’s rushed to embrace. And yet it had an appeal, a romance, an image of youth and freedom that I found intoxicating. Hall’s protagonists’ cleverly lead us through these tumultuous times, showing all sides of this revolution.

 

Hall’s’ characters are very likable – Nick/Nicko, Helen, Alison and Uncle Clem all demonstrate those wonderful characteristics we as Australians love to identify with; the battlers, the free spirits, the larrikins, the hard workers…people who made their own opportunities…even the “bad guy” Mitch has elements of likeableness that you can’t ignore – he volunteered to serve his country – Australians are big on patriotism, he came back wounded and experiencing Post Traumatic Shock – Australians pride themselves on their empathy. Great casting here.

 

The settings and locations were very real to me. I recognised some of the flats, the shared houses, the op shop furniture and barely going first cars. I am sure that aside from the huge hike in rents some of these places haven’t changed very much at all. The trips across the Nullarbor – a few towns have grown, a few have disappeared but the journey, the excitement of making that crossing to a brave new world is still exhilarating (especially if you live in Perth and travel eastwards rather than the other way).

 

There is so much in the book to enjoy. There is so much nostalgia; I loved this book with its simple, easy to read style that talks to you like you are a best friend. The narrative is complex yet innocently beguiling at the same time. It is a coming of age and a personal story, an Australian story, spoken in the colloquial; laconic, blokey yet peppered with insight and self-awareness. And it is a tragedy – on some many levels. Read this and take the journey back to a different time, read with your eyes wide open.

Post Script: Driving Under The Influence – Jenna Martin

Driving Under the Influence

Jenna Martin

Melbourne University Publishing

Victory

ISBN: 9780522866285

 

Description:

A hilarious novel about hitting rock bottom and climbing back up again.

 

Chelsea has had a rough week. After a few great years of professional triumphs and personal stability, she suddenly finds herself—at the grand old age of 28—homeless, jobless and single. Cheating on her boyfriend with her boss probably wasn’t the brightest idea.

 

Salvation comes in the form of her father, Gary ‘Turbo’ Turbiton, a once major but now fading star of stage and screen, who offers her a job as his assistant while he travels Australia promoting his recent autobiography. Chelsea adores her Dad but she knows from years of family road trips just what this ‘job’ will entail: hours and hours of mindless bush trivia, pit stops to ridiculous local landmarks and pointed interrogations about what she’s doing with her life. All the while John Denver will warble endlessly on the CD player. Resigned to her fate—and without a better offer—she says yes.

 

The promo tour takes the two of them across Australia—from a family wedding in Darwin to a pig farm in Port Fairy, from a chance encounter in Tenterfield to an impromptu karaoke night in Yackandandah. Along the way there are unplanned detours—and people—they have to face as they both struggle with that eternal life question: what happens next?

 

With its light touch and sassy humour, Driving Under the Influence is a charming look at growing up, growing old and what fathers and daughters can learn from each other.

 

 

Jenna Martin has been a teacher in Sydney, a law student in Wollongong, an actor in London and a film producer in Los Angeles. She has written several plays, screenplays, short stories and the occasional bad love letter, and this is her first novel.

 

 

My View:

This is a delightful debut novel about one woman’s life changing journey during a road trip with her famous father, stopping to see various lunatic relatives and landmarks along the way; full of reminiscing, hope, love and laughter this book will hook you in and before you know it you will be smiling and laughing out loud. This read is so enjoyable!

 

I don’t know if it my association with  the film and tv  industry( my workplace of the last ten years) or the familiarity of certain situations or certain types of people that drew me in or if it was the larger than life father figure – Turbo to his fans and family, who had me trying to guess who he could be modeled on – I was imagining all sorts of tv presenters and the odd actor who could fit this profile, or mixes of them, (sorry Jenna I have just come across info alerting me to your famous father – and I didn’t think of him , not even for a minute) anyway I was intrigued, I was engaged in this madcap romp, I was besotted with your characters… or maybe it was  the opportunity to step back in time when you reminded of fashions, music, shows, friendships, relationship issues, adolescent dreams and tribulations, and other contemporary references about family and growing up, whatever it was I laughed and laughed and laughed.

 

This is a book written with passion and laughter…you can feel the vibes come off the pages; a great piece of Aussie light hearted fiction.

 

Book trailer can be viewed here:

http://www.jenna-martin.com/#!Driving-under-the-Influence-Trailer/cmbz/22428D4E-5E44-488A-951C-FD1860CFBB16

Post Script: Snake Bite – Christie Thompson

Snake Bite

Snake Bite

Christie Thompson

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781743316863

The funny and shocking coming-of-age story of a wild teenager in a Canberra you never dreamed existed!

Description:
Goon of Fortune is one of those games that people cracked out at parties when everyone is already too maggot to realise what a pointless game it is. A bunch of people circle the Hills Hoist and you peg a bladder of cheap wine to the line. People take turns spinning the clothes line and whoever the wine sack lands in front of has to scull for five seconds.

Jez is seventeen and lives with her alcoholic single mum in in a government rental in Canberra’s outer-suburbs, with little money or future prospects. As well as suffering from terminal boredom, Jez has got epic First World Problems: where is her next pill coming from, what will her first tattoo be, and how will she ever lose her virginity?

Recently Jez has been having weird feelings about her best friend, emo kid Lukey – is she just bored or does she really want him? And if she makes a move on him (how to make a move on him?), will that endanger their friendship? So when effervescent hipster Melbournite Laura moves to town and starts macking on with Lukey, what is Jez to do but seek guidance from sexually experienced next-door-neighbour stripper, Casey? At the same time, Jez’s mum hooks up with a local bartender, placing a strain on their already fragile relationship.

Over the course of one blazing summer, Jez runs a gauntlet of new experiences and discovers the real meaning of home. Filled with humour, brilliant observations and raw revelations, Snake Bite is a contemporary Puberty Blues, the coming-of-age story of a wild teenager in a Canberra you never dreamed existed. It will sink its fangs into, inject you with its intoxicating venom, and never let you go

My View:

An engaging read once you have discovered the secret to decoding the teenagers’ language of text shortcuts, abbreviations and contemporary jargon.  This is a fast moving book full of angst, despair, loneliness and the universal themes of all teenagers in the first world  – those of seeking acceptance and love.

The reality is not a lot has changed in the last forty years or so for young people; teenagers are still ‘misunderstood’, still seeking answers to the meaning of life and still searching for acceptance; still trying to define themselves by their clothes, their music, their “style” and their choice of friends. Young women are still confusing sex with love.  Not a lot has changed since I was a teenager.

The language of youth may have changed, the drug of choice may have changed (alcohol is an option where once was the only choice for most, now dope/weed and other chemical highs are more in favour and easy to acquire, apparently). It seems we have still not managed to teach our children how to communicate their feelings and deal with their emotions – young people are still trying to bury their angst and loneliness in the numbness of drug use.  It is a sad indictment of modern life.

An engaging read, sometimes funny, mostly sad. The characters I found were a little stereotyped and for me Jez was the only empathetic voice. I did not understand how with the massive amount of drug and alcohol use and abuse in this narrative that apparently no adult had a single clue what was going on; for me this aspect of the narrative spoilt the credibility of the story, and the fact that all issues were neatly and simply wrapped up in the conclusion – Jez was enlightened to the “ways of the world” and appeared mature beyond her years, and “happy families” prevailed in the end, was a little too convenient.

However, a quick mostly enjoyable if not sometimes confronting read that every parent should read. This book can be used as great conversation starter for adults with teenagers. And I should add – I know that I was not the target audience for this book – I am several generations too old for and most likely was seeking more than what the book was offering as YA reading. 🙂  Young adults will enjoy.