A group of school-leavers: free at last, ready to party, expectations high.
A remote island on the Western Australian coast wasn’t exactly the plan, but they’re not going to let that hold them back.
Leonardo, geeky, asthmatic, shy and prone to anxiety, has landed with them. He’s terrified—he’s definitely not part of this cool gang. Super high-achiever Kaiya is trying to forget her frustration with her drug-addicted sister as well as dealing with pressure from the popular girls to lose her virginity. Mason, footy jock with the physique to match, is coming to terms with his secret desire for his best mate, Jared. And Jared wants a week off from his relationship with Val so he can have sex with as many girls as possible.
But the party takes a dangerous turn when Val is drugged and a man is later found dead on the beach. Blame, fear, mistrust, coverups, power plays and dark secrets tear the group apart and expose the deadly tensions beneath the surface. And each teen is forced to confront demons that will lead them either to devastating tragedy or transformative triumph.
Whoever survives the week will never be the same again.
The Brink is a raw, powerful novel that pulls no punches in its authentic exploration of masculinity, sexuality, mental health, drug and alcohol use, relationships and sex. Holden Sheppard takes the teenage experience to the next level
Holden Sheppard’s second novel, The Brink, perfectly captures the feelings of excitement, uncertainty and expectation that come with the end of high school. Mix these swirling teenage emotions with the euphoria of leavers, a remote and menacing location, and a splattering of secrets and it would be enough for a thrilling read – throw in a body on the beach, and things get explosive.
One thing is for sure, no one in this group will be the same again – that is, if they even make it home.
Holden Sheppard is a unique voice in the WA literary scene, creating in vivid detail the recognisable locations that local readers will really connect with. In the follow up to his award-winning debut, masculinity and sexuality are again key themes but this time explored through the heady mix of alcohol, drugs, and wild nights of leavers chaos, and the deadly tensions and power plays that lurk beneath the surface in a group of friends.
A raw and powerful read that really cuts deep, the tense mystery kept me turning the pages late into the night.