Reviewer Katie shares her reading picks for the last year…
The Things We Promise – J.C Burke
This one made the list because Burke so cleverly created a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era. From the musicians, TV shows, movies, fashions and phone booths to the mass feeling of dread and fear about homosexuality causing an ‘AIDS epidemic’, I was transported back to my youth. This was not done in a tokenistic, name-dropping way but in a subtle inclusion in the description of the protagonist, Gemma’s every day life. This is certainly a time that should not be forgotten, and Burke has masterfully portrayed the human face of the destructive results of bigotry, irrational fear, misguided hype and ignorance. A must read for anyone who remembers this era, those who have forgotten and those who need to be told.
The Elephant – Peter Carnavas
This story is beautifully written and deals sensitively with the topic of depression and how it affects children. It is a must read for children six and up and for the adults in their lives. But be warned… there is a twist at the end of this story that requires a box of tissues to be in close reach!
My Lovely Frankie – Judith Clarke
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would by no means restrict the recommendation of readership to young adults. Author, Judith Clarke experimented with a sophisticated writing style, jumping from present to different periods of the past where conversations meld together. Slowly the characters are developed deeply through snippets of the protagonist’s memories. This style of writing made My Lovely Frankie a deeply intriguing story. I highly recommend it to any reader who enjoys deep character development and sophisticated commentary on important issues relevant to contemporary society.
Came Back to Show You I Could Fly – Robin Klein
This story made the list for its deep sadness that hung around well after I finished reading it. Angie, the quirky protagonist emitted an innocence that was not feigned despite her obvious life experience. She clearly lacked the ability to look after her health, her finances or her relationships. Her extravagant plans and ideas were pathetic and poignant in their impossibility and Seymour’s belief in them. There was also the fact that she was pregnant and in such a predicament that help felt impossibly distant. I found it uncomfortable to read this story overall because the ending could only ever be a devastating halt to Angie and Seymour’s heartwarming relationship. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the postscript that saw the growth of both characters and the hope that life would work out for both of them. This ending felt believable and is an example of Klein’s beautiful writing style.
Meet reviewer Katie Mineeff…
Katie Mineeff is a mother of four, primary school teacher and author of young adult fiction. She has two wall-to-ceiling book shelves in her house to support her reading habit, yet still manages to have overflow piles scattered around. She loves children’s literature in all its forms and especially enjoys reading aloud to her students and children. Reviewing for Reading Time has introduced her to new and exciting additions to children’s literature in Australia.