Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James

I received a copy of this book from the amazing team at Walker Books Australia. Thank you so  much for sending me a review copy! I am so grateful for each and every book I am sent to review!

I tried so hard to keep this review spoiler free, but it just couldn’t be done, there was too much going on for me to stay quiet on the spoiler front. So, this is your warning, if you haven’t read this book and are planning to please head to my GoodReads HERE for a spoiler free review.

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The Quiet At The End of The World

4/5 Stars

Published March 7th 2019 by Walker Books

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Firstly, this book is written amazingly well, it jumps straight into the plot, no lead up, just straight into action and I love it! The protagonists are great, I can already see that they are deep and motivated and I want to learn more about them.

How amazing is this world that they are living in? The future sounds incredible, you know, other than the population being sterile and these are the last two kids left alive on earth… But how the technology advanced, how robots became a part of every day life and how although they survive pretty normally without them, they replaced people like chefs, life guards, shop tellers and supermarket attendants. I also find it rather thought inducing, to think that they are using social media accounts to get a feel for the past. The past that is our current reality. It makes you think about what kind of legacy you are leaving, what kind of footprint are you leaving for future generations to see and remember you by?

Already I am so into this book, I want to know more about this virus, about where it came from, who made it and why? I love books like this, with some kind of chemical warfare that changes the world. Dystopias are my favourite, as long as there is no love triangle…

Okay, so wow, this book is really good. But what I like the most about it, is that it is so thought provoking. The reader is constantly being reminded that these two kids, Lowrie and Shen are the last two people on earth… yes they have families at the moment, but when they die, they will be the last two people, and if for some reason they are able to conceive a child or two, then those children will be the last ones ever… scary thought!

It is heartbreaking to watch Lowrie and Shen come to the realisation that they are going to watch all the people that they know and care about die, just vanish from the world and leave them alone with the robots. I can’t imagine what that would be like.

What. Hang on. Hold the bus. Lowrie’s last name is Mountbatten-Windsor Lowrie is a gosh darn royal! What the heck! No wonder she lives in such a fancy house with so many servant bots and an incredibly rich family!

The way social media is used in this book is scary. I think I touched on this earlier, but Lowrie and Shen are using it as historical research, to see what the world was like before the sterility. It is terrifying to think that, that may happen to our current social media accounts. Is what we are sharing with the world today, what future generations will find and think that it is a perfect representation of how we lived?

I am just over halfway now, and things are starting to get rough… I am almost too scared to read on, I don’t think I am ready to see these teens suffer from the pain of losing their parents. I just hope that it doesn’t happen like this..

What the actual heck is going on here? The parents all have electrical boards in their heads… I was trying to write this review, spoiler free, but I just can’t. Too much is happening and I need to rant!

So Lowrie and Shen have just deiscovered that their parents are all robots, all with electronic boards in their heads, where their brains should be… but that isn’t the creepiest bit. The creepiest bit is that we have been reading updates from a person called Maya, and her partner Rizz, through old social media updates and we have been seeing a new app called Baby Grow. A simulation baby application, it started out innocently enough, but now there are baby dolls being made, to sync with the app, they move and make sounds like reall babies… but the extra scary thing is that their ‘bodies’ can be upgraded as they age… Are you with me?

Lowrie and Shen’s parents are Baby Grow robots, grown up, and somehow they have gotten their hands on two real-life human children. This is all speculation, but I really feel like I am on the right, slightly creepy (very) track… Wow, not the direction I expected this book in taking at all! Mind blown.

Ughh, you know what, I just wish Lowrie would man up and tell Shen how she feels, he clearly feels the same way for her! Also I want to know what the heck is going on with the whole Mountbatten-Windsor thing. Did the queen make a baby grow baby to keep her blood-line going? I need answers!

Wow, I just finished this masterpiece, I can honestly say, that this book exceeded my expectations. I was expecting something futuristic, a little sci-fi and dystopian, but it is so much more than that. I love the way that robots were integrated into the world, it is a little scary to think that they were able to make them so human though. But at the same time, how amazing is that technology! Lowrie and Shen had no idea that their parents were robots and they grew up with them, they also grew up with Robots… But I digress, I just really enjoyed the fact that people were suddenly sterile, we never find out what caused this to happen, btw. But yes, they were sterile from a disease like the flu, and in desperation to have children, they created the Baby Grows and the rest is history.

I am a little disappointed we never got filled in on Lowries royal lineage, other than her being a clone from someone living in the past. Maybe the surname was a little dig? I like it anyway, I am a bit of a Elizabeth II fan, so any nod to her makes me happy.

This book is so well written, it captivated me from the first page, I was unable to put it down. The writing style is fantastic, so modern and easy to read.  The story flows from one page to the next and the pacing is so perfectly set that you will keep turning pages much faster than you would like.  The characters are so perfectly human, each with their worries, goals, flaws and feelings, they feel like real people, the last two people on earth.

You will find yourself loving all of the characters in this book and hard pressed to find one that you don’t like. There is no clean-cut villain in this book and I love that, it makes the novel feel like there is more to the world than goodies fighting baddies. I also love that there is no gosh darn love triangle. That would have completely ruined this book for me.

I feel like this book has a deeper message, just than these two teens have saved the world and now they are enabling robots to inherit the earth. This book is incredibly thought provoking around just what we, as a society are leaving behind, as well as the power of social media.

Have you read this book? What did it make you think about while you were reading?

As always, thanks for reading!

 

Julie

Reviews & Ramblings, Uncategorized

Review & Ramblings: The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews

I have been waiting for this book to be released ever since I saw that the lovely C. G. Drews had written another title! You see, her first book A Thousand Perfect Notes, is a masterpiece that will destroy you, you HAVE to read it!

The Boy Who Steals Houses struck a chord with me as it has a character who has Austism. This is near and dear to my heart because I work with children with Autism, so to see it being represented by one of m favourite authors is so, so exciting.

I was scrolling through NetGalley and saw this title and requested it in about two seconds. I knew I needed to apply for it, even if my chances were slim. But you know what? I GOT IT! I then posted an incredibly …ahem… interesting video on my Instagram story and the rest is history! I am so excited to be able to read this book! And even more excited to be able to read it before its release!

Okay, even more exciting, I got bookmail from Hachette and guess what!? It was a finished copy of this book! I am dead! Actually dead! This book is so pretty and big and real! I am so excited to add it to my collection!

As always, here is the disclaimer letting you know that this review post does include SPOILERS, so if you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend clicking HERE and reading my spoiler free revire on GoodReads.

Let’s get the pages turning!

 

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The Boy Who Steals Houses by C. G. Drews

5/5 Star Read!

Publishes on April 4th 2019 by Orchard Books

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I’m not crying, you’re crying! Wow I am only 9% in and I can’t stop the tears. Avery is such a perfect representation of what it is like to live with Autism. I feel so connected to him after only a few pages and want the best for this little man. Sam, is also such a sensitive soul, who only wants a life for his brother and a home for himself. This book is going to wreck me, I can tell.

Oh wow, their dad is a complete arsehole! What the heck, who takes a child with Austism’s special toy away? The one thing that calms them? Any parent of a child with autism should know this… in theory. And then the worst thing that could happen, happens. The father hits the son, the son with autism. Avery. He hits Avery. While Sam watches from the car, tied in by his seatbelt, unable to help. What a traumatic thing, for each of them to live through. Each of them experiencing the same Trauma from different aspects. My heart is bleeding, this book is killing me.

So amazingly written, when I read ‘And he hits him’ tears ran from my eyes and my heart rate sped to a mile a minute. The way C. G. Drews creates her characters and scenes is incredible. The amount of emotion she creates in a single sentence is amazing.

Oh wow, the Delaineys are such a perfect family! I love how they are so welcoming to anyone who enters their house, that they don’t even question who Sam is. Yes, I can see how that can be kind of dangerous, but for Sam, it was a godsend. He wants so desperately to be a part of the family, to have a family like the Delaineys. To have a dad who cares enough about them to give them holiday jobs, to put food on the table and to feed strange kids that appear at his house.

Poor Sammy, he thinks he has blown it with Moxie, but I think she was just angry, I don’t think he has blown it at all. He saved her baby brother, it was just a shock to see him hiding in her dead mothers study… well I think her mum died, no one speaks of her and so far we have only heard about medical bills… but that is neither here nor there. I think Moxie will come around, if only Sam will man up and go back around there, tell the truth and say he needs help.

Avery, wow Avery, what are you doing!? This is the side of adulthood Autism that really scares me. He is so trusting that he is vulnerable. He just wants to please, to be praised for his hard and delicate work. To have people who appreciate his smarts and abilities. To have a pretty girl interested in him. But he is going to have a huge fall, she is stopping him from stimming, she is introducing him to stealing on a much bigger level, to alcohol, to sex. All things that typically, people with Autism struggle with, all things that are gateways to bigger and worse things. I just want Avery to be happy and to live a functional adult life, but I think to do that, he needs Sam.

I am about halfway through this book and my heart is breaking for Sam, not just because he is homeless and has no one in his corner, but because now, he has even lost his brother. Avery is scared of him, scared of Sam and his fists.

Finally, Sam manned up and went and apologised to Moxie. Wow that girl is deep. She is getting called ‘mama’ by her three-year-old brother because she is basically his sole carer. Which is even more heart breaking when you remember that she is only fifteen. That is the bit that hits me the hardest. Both Moxie and Sam are only fifteen and already they are going through so much, so many aspects of life that they shouldn’t have had to deal with yet. They really are the perfect companions and Moxie’s family is the perfect fit for Sam and for Avery. I just hope that there is a happy ending in there somewhere for all of them.

Wow, okay wow. Sammy Lou has some serious demons in his closet, but he knew that already, that’s why he was running. But he found the perfect family, the family who picked him up when he had no where, the family who treated him like he was theirs and who took Avery in with no questions asked. He found his place in the world.

This book ended on such a cliff-hanger! Not in the typical sense, but in the, so much is happening, and then it just ends…. There are so many unanswered questions, so many more tears to fall and so many things I need to know. I need to know more about Avery, about if he stays with the DeLaineys, takes the job with the dad DeLainey, what happens to him when Sam goes to prison. There is so much I NEED to know! I desperately need a second book!

As always this book is amazingly written, it will pull strings you didn’t even know you had. It is moving and emotionally charged and if you don’t tear up at least once, you are a heartless piece of cardboard (okay not really, some people don’t cry.)

I think what made it so much more amazing for me, on a personal level, is that I can so relate to Avery’s character. I work with children with Autism, every day. It is what I am passionate about, helping these incredibly amazing people to be able to function in the world when they become adults. To help them learn in the ways that suits them, in the less upsetting and confronting ways possible. I see so much perfect real-world aspects to Avery that it breaks my heart. He is such a gentle character, a perfect representation of what typical ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) looks like. I love that Drews has written this character, there are so many misconceptions of people with ASD and I am hoping that this book helps to alleviate some of those misconceptions.

Sam, don’t even get me started on the depth of this character…. Wowzers. This boy has seen too much for his fifteen years. He is functioning amazingly, all things considered. But I think what draws me to him, is his protective nature, his need to look after Avery, not only because he is his brother and he needs help, but because it is all he knows. Avery was all Sam ever had in his world, his one constant. He needs Avery just as much as Avery needs him. Two broken boys, both in their own special ways.

In wrapping up, you can already tell that this book was such a highlight of my 2019. I loved this book on a soul-deep level and I will be screaming it from the rooftops until I am red in the face. This is a book that everyone needs to read. It may be targeted towards Young Adult readers, but it is something that everyone will enjoy, something that everyone can relate to. Incredibly well written, a writing style that flows so fluidly that you won’t even notice the pages turning and a story that will pull at strings, you didn’t even know you had. A MUST read for 2019!

As always, thank you so much for reading!

Please comment below if you have read this book and what you thought!

 

Julie!

 

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: The House of Second Chances by Esther Campion

I was sent a copy of this novel from the lovely team at Hachette in exchange for an honest review and to take part in the blog tour for it. It isn’t something that I would usually read anymore, funnily enough when I was younger (18-20) I loved books like this, but lately and for the last seven years, Young Adult Fiction has been my poison of choice. So, reading this book feels like a blast from the past.

As always, even though this review is part of a blog tour for this book, this review may contain spoilers, if you haven’t read this book, please head over to my GoodReads for a spoiler free review, you can find it HERE.

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The House of Second Chances by Esther Campion

Published February 12th 2019 by Hachette Australia

3/5 Stars

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I have just finished the first chapter, and already I can sense so many complex emotions surrounding the house in Cork. I am getting a little confused as the point of view changes without any warning and I often have to go back to the page break and work out who it is, speaking. I also am getting overwhelmed with descriptions and thoughts, this book is very heavy on telling you everything that you might, maybe need to know. I’m sure that some of it will be helpful further in, but for the moment, it is slightly annoying.

I am enjoying it, especially the Australian-isms in Ellen’s chapters. I love that this book is set in Australia and Ireland, it feels like the right combination. I also feel a connection to Ellen, in that we first see her on Anzac Day, paying her respects, then heading straight in to breakfast, that for me hits home in that, that is our tradition too. Anzac Day, Dawn service, followed by breakfast with the family. I love already, how much there is in this book to relate to.

This book is 391 pages long and the book itself is massive, so it feels like this book may take longer to read than usual. Usually I can knock-out a 300 page book in a day, but as the pages of this book are probably a quarter bigger than the smaller sized paperbacks I am used to, I’d say it will take me a bit longer. Not that this will affect my review or my enjoyment of the book, just an observation. I like to be able to sit down with a book and finish it, so I’m not left thinking about what will happen all day at work. Are any of you like that? Or do you like to drag out the books that you are really enjoying? Make them last longer?

I’m getting a lot of back story as I continue my read of this book. I am about 100 pages in and nothing has really happened, other than the introduction of new characters and getting to see the house and starting to understand the characters and their connections to each other. I love Aidan’s character. He feels the most real so far. I also love how it is a man with self esteem and weight issues, not a female character. But I don’t love the way they were brought up, he thought his weight wasn’t noticeable, but people are telling him not to take second helpings, to walk the neighbour’s dog and to so the female population a favour and “lose a few stone”. So I am feeling a little bit for Aidan at the moment.

I’m also with Aidan on the renovation front. Colette wants to completely modernise the 1800’s built farm house (from the title of the book) whereas Aidan wants to renovate, but leave it with its rustic charm, keeping to the original feel of the house. I am so on Aidan’s side. There is so much of history being wiped out through modernisation. It just seems like such a shame to lose another piece of history, just to sell a house. Or as Ellen wants, to rent rooms.

This book is well written, I am slowly starting to engage with the characters and making sense of the developing plot. I am still finding it a little overly wordy, but I can see past that now that the story is developing. I think Ellen and Gerry are a couple? Waiting for Gerry’s Visa to be approved for him to move to Australia? I also can see how Colette and Aidan may end up together, again. They do say opposites attract? Colette brings to the table a whole new level of confidence to Aidan’s shy and quiet demeaner. I just hope that Aidan doesn’t lose himself if they do end up together.

I am trying to work out the pacing, it feels like it is taking a long time to read, but I think that it because not much is happening? Perhaps the pacing is a mid-pace type scenario. It is just fast enough to keep pages turning, but not fast enough to keep things free flowing? I do love me a fast paced book, so the change is a little off putting.

I am around halfway through this book now, at page 200. And things have picked up slightly. For example, Aidan has taken up swimming and has realised that he is indeed, a dog person. Colette has realised that Aidan isn’t just a chubby builder, he is friendly, honest, reliable and has a heart of gold that is the size of a planet. And that she likes him.

Colette is a complex character, she has been through some horrible traumas and has come out the other side of it, surrounded by self-built brick walls that no one gets to see through, let alone knock down. She puts on this cold and hard front, but deep inside, she just wants to be loved and appreciated. To be safe and wanted. And Aidan would give her that in spades. I can’t wait to see how their story pans out.

I am a little confused about why we are getting so much back-story about secondary characters? Is it to gap-fill while we take a break from the main plot? Is it to make the book a little longer? I find myself wanting to skip the paragraphs and sometimes pages of unnecessary back-story of characters that aren’t even main characters. It may just be my opinion, but there is so much being told, that doesn’t need to be, like why Grace decided to stay home when she found out that she was pregnant with twins. Yes she is Colette’s sister, but I didn’t need to know that she stayed to be close to her family, much to the dismay of Ben’s (her husband), family. The pacing is still quite slow, but I am enjoying the change of pace and genre.

I have just finished this title, and woah did the last 60ish chapters blow my mind. There was so much drama and action and pure emotion! I think they were the best 60 pages in the entire book. I do wish that there was more about the house that Aidan and Colette were working on. A little more history about the place, more details on the renovation and interaction around it, as the book is called The House of Second Chances…

As I have said countless times, this book is well written, mid-paced and emotionally charged. It is filled with characters that you can’t help but love and it gives you all of the information and back-story that you could possibly need. It is set between stunning Ireland and Australia and it has an incredibly home like feel about it.

I am so greatful to Hachette for sending me a copy of this book, it was the perfect sea change, so to speak!

Thanks for reading

Julie

 

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: The Secret Runners of New York by Matthew Reilly

was lucky enough to receive an Advanced Reader Copy of this amazing book, from MacMillan Australia! I requested it and it seriously felt like Christmas when I received a surprise parcel! Matthew Reilly is one of my all-time favourite Australian authors, so I can’t wait to dive into this book!

As always, here is your disclaimer telling you that this review does contain spoilers. If you haven’t read this book and you are planning to, please click HERE for my spoiler-free Goodreads review. There is nothing worse than having a book ruined by unadvertised spoilers!

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The Secret Runners of New York by Matthew Reilly

Publishing on the 26th of March 2019

5/5 Stars

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I’ve just started reading this amazing book, I have literally just finished the prologue and woah, I need to know more! Why was the exit locked? What or who was she running from? Why were they hunting her? What are the “Runners”? and how do you become one? So many questions just from a prologue! And in typical Matthew Reilly fashion, this book is so well written I am already drawn so much to Becky and this world that he has created! I am dying to return to it! So off I go!

Okay, two chapters in and we have met Red and Blue or Alfred and Skye, Skye is our protagonist. Poor Becky from the prologue actually did disappear! But apparently, that isn’t a strange thing to happen to new girls at The Monmouth Academy. Three girls have gone missing, each in March over three years. We have briefly met Jenny, she seems like she is a lot of fun! Fiery, quick quips and a deadly, dry sense of humour, my kind of girl!

It turns out, in order to become a Secret Runner of New York, you have to be a popular, rich kid. Or be dating one, you have to be invited into the inner circle of New York’s elite to be shown the way in to the tunnel. At first glance, the tunnel that they run in, doesn’t seem too spooky or out of the ordinary, just a deserted below ground tunnel, but then Red gets seen by a man, above ground in the tunnel and the rest of the group completely freak out. Why? Not sure yet. The only explanation we have gotten is that the New York above the tunnel is a parallel NY to the one they live in, one with no power, smashed windows, all grey and derelict. I am interested to see more of this parallel NY and to see what Reilly does with it.

I am starting to feel for Blue (Skye) she seems to want to do the right thing, stand up for people who can’t speak up for themselves, but then she has been burnt so badly in the past for doing just that, that she is scared to be herself. I see her losing her brother and wanting to be in the world that he is in, too. For them to be experiencing high-school together in the same way. She wants friends but she wants genuine friends, she wants her mother to stop nagging her about trivial things, for her to accept her for who she is. I can’t imagine how it would be, growing up in such a privileged society!

I am still in awe of Reilly’s writing. He could write the back of a baked bean can and I would read it and hang on his every word. This book is such a great invitation for Young Adult Readers into the worlds that Reilly creates!

Well, well, well isn’t it funny how quickly people’s views on others can change. Skye helps out the most popular girl in school, saving her from humiliation and bam! She has gone from pariah to popular. It makes me angry because this particular thing, is just like real life, the popular kids only ‘hate’ you because they don’t know you or because you are different, no real reason at all. But do one nice thing for them and then you are suddenly accepted and have a million friends that you never wanted or needed. I can’t wait to see what Skye does with this newfound popularity.

Since I have updated this blog, Sky has gone on her first ‘run’, been seen and scared by the man at the top of the well, secured herself an elite crush and has found out that the end of the world, really is coming on the 17th of March… These kids are so brave, I don’t think I would have the gall to leave the safety of the tunnel to explore the ruins of the world. Especially when there is a crazy man up there, who probably hasn’t seen a person for a long lounge time.

The more I read this book, the more I am wanting to re-visit Mathew Reilly’s adult works, this book is amazing, and I am enjoying it, but it doesn’t have his usual flair, it feels like there is something missing? This is the perfect entry level Reilly novel for young teens and young adults. The writing makes you think, it makes you want to know more about ancient civilisations, about the future, about the way the world works, and I think that is fantastic! I am around halfway through the book now, I can’t wait to see what this group of teens does with their new-found knowledge. Will they use it to try and save the world, or will they use it selfishly to save themselves?

Wow okay, the ending wasn’t at all what I expected! Firstly, why am I not surprised that Misty and her family were complete psychopaths (not Oz, he is a gem). Misty turned out to be the most complete anti-hero, villainous doesn’t even do her justice. She was completely obsessed with Bo and when anyone got in her way, she got rid of them, left them for dead in the future.

Blue or Skye, has such a large character development throughout this book. We see her has meek and mild and afraid to stand up for what she believes in because she has been hurt in the past. But towards the end we see her protecting herself, her friends and even killing in order to save Jenny. She becomes strong, courageous and brave, when the going got tough, she got going… so to speak.

The whole idea of time travel in this way, is completely mind blowing to me. That the portal only opens in a specific part of the year and that it only lets teens ages 13-18 through, is something I want to know more about. Skye’s father mentioned something about the other gems in the photo of Misty’s ancestors and that they may do something different, open portals to different places, I want to know more about that too. This aspect that Reilly has written has me wanting to know more, we need another book!

As always, this book blew my mind, I was feeling like it was dragging a little in the middle, but the pace remained fast and when I hit the final 45 pages, woah, did it take off. As usual, I was completely mesmerised by the world that Reilly has created. I think I enjoyed this one so much because it is set in the real world as well as the future, because it deals with the very real element of bullying and manipulation that we all have felt in high-school and it shows that being yourself and sticking to your beliefs is always worth it. Incredibly well written and engaging from the first word. I can’t recommend this book enough.

Thank you so much MacMillan for sending me the review copy, I feel so grateful and humbled to be able to read such fantastic novels such as this, ahead of release!

As always, thanks for reading!

Julie

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Boy On A Wire – Jon Doust

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Fremantle Press in exchange for some publicity and an honest review. I am so grateful to the publisher for sending me out this gem. This edition is published on April 1st 2019, but originally this title was published in 2009, so if you like the sound of it, you are able to get your hands on it!

As always, here is your disclaimer about my Review & Ramblings posts, this review includes spoilers, if you haven’t read this book and are planning to, please pop over to my spoiler-free review on GoodReads, HERE.

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Boy on a Wire – Jon Doust

Published April 1st 2019 by Fremantle Press

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Wow, this book is so incredibly Australian. But I love that about it. Written by an Australian, about Australian people and published by an Australian Publishing Agency. I love it! It is one of my goals for 2019 to read more books by Australian Authors and this is my second one for February!

I read the first page and instantly knew that this book was going to leave me in a puddle of tears by the end of it. But I was wrong, I should have said second chapter. What an incredibly hard life our protagonist has, he knows he is different, he knows he is softer than his brother and father, yet he does things that he doesn’t want to, to please them. He is extremely religious, he uses it to cope with the world that he is living in, it gives him structure and hope, until it doesn’t, and God listens to his inner thoughts and it gives him what he wants… almost. All within the first two chapters. I am already so invested in this boys’ life (I haven’t been told his name yet), I want good things for him.

I am about halfway through this book now, and I am starting to see just now naïve, Jack is. But that isn’t entirely his own fault. His family have molly-coddled him and sheltered him and taught him to only learn what God has to teach him. They didn’t teach him anything about his body, or about socialising or what behaviours are acceptable and what aren’t. They are putting it down to ‘Pinks Disease’… Which they describe as mercury poisoning from when he was a child, and the scary thing about that is that they are saying that it was common for mercury to be found in milk formula, in baby toys, on teething rings, all the things that babies would put in their mouths and in their bodies. In essence, it has caused him to have a learning delay, difficulty understanding societal norms and expectations and not being able to grasp education at the rate that he is expected to. Yes, his disease is at fault for a large part of his deficit, but his parents are equally at fault.

I can’t help but feel like this book isn’t really going anywhere, yes Jack is progressing, we see that in every turn of the page, but day in, day out, it is the same content, Jack waking up, going to school, suffering some type of humiliation or physical reprimand, eating tea and returning to his dorm. I just wish something else would happen already. Also, the pacing is incredibly slow, it makes it feel like I have been reading for much longer than I have, which takes some of the enjoyment out of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying the extreme Australian-ness of it, the slang and the overall feel, but I do wish it would speed up and that something would happen!

So I finally finished this book, and unfortunately, it didn’t pick up. And I struggled to re-engage with the book after taking a short break from it. (I went back to work).

I wanted to love this book. I wanted it to show the other side of Australia, the side that books often overlook. In that respect I got what I wanted, this book is raw and gritty and on many levels, emotionally charged. But for me, I truly felt as though it was too long, that there were so many chapters that just felt like they were re-worded repeats of previous chapters. I couldn’t connect with the protagonist past the first 30 pages. I felt a real connection to him early in the book, I wanted him to do well, to escape the world of his mother and father and make something of himself, and when he got to boarding school, I thought that was his chance, but he didn’t and it wasn’t. But I guess that is the point of the book. To show how life repeats, to show how socio-economic status and culture works. I struggled also with the writing style, it is incredibly slow paced, but the chapters are so short, it sort of makes up for the pacing. I like the short chapters, you can read one in under three minutes.

I do feel a little guilty for not liking this book. I requested it from the lovely people at Fremantle Press in exchange for some publicity and a honest review, but I wish it could have been more positive.

On closing, I loved the Australian-ness of this novel, I just wish there was more content and less repetition.

Thanks for reading.

Julie