Review Blog

Apr 20 2016

About a girl by Joanne Horniman

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2010. ISBN 9781742371443
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Relationships, Same sex relationships, Love, Depression. You know that feeling you have when you come across a book so well written that you want to read it again - straightaway? Well this is one of those, so I was very surprised to turn to the publication page and see that it was first published in 2010. How did I miss it?
Anna's father has left the family without warning, moving in with his much younger lover, a girl to whom Anna is physically attracted. This combined with the instability at home as her abandoned mother tries to rebuild her life with her two daughters, reduces Anna's belief in herself.
And then something happens which further undermines her confidence, causing her to suffer a serious bout of depression. She drops out of uni and finds a job in a bookshop in Lismore. Here she begins to get her life back on some sort of even keel, and despite not looking for love, finds it in Flynn. The story of their relationship is achingly real, tender and all encompassing, as Anna slowly reveals her past to her lover. But Flynn also keeps herself close, so much so that Anna can never be sure that she will still be there, and when she invites her to move in with her in her small apartment, Flynn is forced to reveal her secret.
The girls share their lives, the stray cat that insists on sleeping on Anna's bed when Flynn is there, the teapot called Lavinia, the sharing of bathers when they go to the beach, the meeting of Anna's mother and disabled sister when they visit. And when they split, Anna is more certain, more sure that life holds meaning and a future.
This is a wonderful story of two girls, their shared love and what happens when love is gone and set against a background familiar to many readers.
Fran Knight
Editor's note: This is still in print.
Shortlisted, 2011 Prime Minister's Literary Awards, Young adult fiction
Shortlisted, 2011 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year - Older Readers

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