Sixteen-year-old Skye lives with her mother and her ten-year-old brother, Ben in Adelaide. Their lives are suddenly turned upside down with the arrival of her mum’s new boyfriend, Jason. Jason works a lot, except they don’t know what exactly he does. When their mum decides to move with him to Port Flinders, Skye and Ben are uprooted from all that is familiar. And then, Jason gets violent. Now Skye must figure out a way to get out of there but more importantly, she wants to help Ben and will do anything to protect him.
Anna Spargo-Ryan is quickly becoming one of my favourite Australian authors. With her second novel, she delves into the world of domestic violence and dysfunctional families. She perfectly captures the anxieties of being a teenager in this situation; torn between love and anger towards her mother and the protectiveness towards a younger sibling. Her depiction of Ben is endearing. Full of facts and information, he is walking encyclopaedia and it’s not hard to see why he struggles to fit in with his peers at Port Flinders. Like Skye, Spargo-Ryan manages to make us readers feel protective towards Ben.
Working in mental health with young people, families like Skye’s and Ben’s are not unusual for me and I loved how close to reality this book was without any sensationalism. The writing is beautiful while simultaneously being simple and clear. It’s the perfect example of showing, not telling.
***This has been read and reviewed for the 2017 Australian Author Challenge and the 2017 Australian Women Writers’ Challenge. Also linking up with Alicia for Open Slather and Corinne for Monday Musings***
Until next time,