March 5, 2019
I’ve mentioned before that I have in recent times been somewhat disenchanted with many of the YA novels that have come my way. There have been a few exceptions. This one, debut novel and all, is an absolute corker!
Annie and her ‘island girls’ (the kind you take with you to a desert island), Ashlin and Ruby have been a threesome forever. They are bonded so closely that nothing could ever tear them apart. While their family lives may be complex in one sense with divorces, absent fathers, family secrets they lead privileged lives with money, fashion and solid support.
When Ashlin’s hitherto unknown half-brother, Trip, arrives from Canada, asked to leave his school due to some unexplained arson attacks, the girls’ previously tight bonds of friendship begin to fray in varying degrees. Annie’s burgeoning relationship with Trip seems destined to follow some kind of roller-coaster experience as she repeatedly trusts him, rejects him, reconciles with him. Ashlin’s secret sexual identity begins to reveal itself while Ruby, ignoring Annie’s obvious interest in Trip, starts throwing herself at the boy with little regard for her friend.
Into this mix of emotional angst are the girls’ usual activities of sport, singing, holidays and fashion but all of these seem to be overcast by some sinister atmosphere and more frighteningly, inexplicable random fires.
Greer has put together an intense and gripping narrative with many twists and turns and the ending is not to be missed.
Given its fairly adult themes this is not a book I would recommend for your younger teens but I have no hesitation in promoting it to senior secondary students.