Sue McPherson, Brontide, Magabala Books, June 2018, 144pp., $14.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781925360929
This story is told in a series of one on one interviews between the author and four teenage boys in the beach town of Taralune, Queensland. The interviews take place over five days. Two of the boys are seventeen, and two are fifteen (though the back cover mistakenly states one is twelve) and two are brothers. The boys are all very different, and although they don’t always think it, they all have a story to tell. The author’s note at the beginning of the book sets the scene and alludes to this being a true story.
Initially skeptical of how engaging I would find teenage boys, this story was completely absorbing and I read it in a single sitting. The text is tight and minimal, the author has mastered the art of saying a lot in only a few words. There are many issues touched on – families, domestic violence, drug taking, risk taking, and racism. The author has two teenage sons herself, and this is reflected in the authenticity of the characters’ voices.
Highly recommended for upper secondary and public libraries, this book would be useful for exploring many themes in contemporary Australian society, especially with teenage boys.
Reviewed by Rebecca Kemble