Remind me how this ends by Gabrielle Tozer

cover image

Angus and Robertson, 2017. ISBN 9781460751688
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Durnan is really a backwater now that Milo's girlfriend has moved 300kms away to University. Milo finished Yr 12 with plenty of options but he's stuck, working in the family bookstore. It doesn't look as if he's going anywhere fast. He's visited Sal once at her student share house but Milo seems to factor less and less in her hectic new life. Who should re-enter Milo's life after a 5 year absence? Layla Montgomery walks through the door of the bookstore. Her baggage is the unresolved grief of her mother's sudden death in Durnan and a drug-dealing boyfriend.
Their respective relationships begin to languish and the pair fall into a familiar friendship of text messaging and teasing. Plans go awry for them both and in the melee, is intimacy on the cards? Or is Milo merely a link to Layla's memories of her mother - in a happier time before her dad swept them out of town on the wave of his own grief.
Tozer's chapters alternate between Layla and Milo's perspectives because this is the classic friends becoming lovers plot. Yet Trent, Milo's brother, and Shirin, Layla's step-mother, are just two developed characters adding credibility, pathos and in Trent's case, more than a little humour. Remind me how this ends amongst a handful of themes, explores the dilemma of what comes after school. Thanks to Milo's gap year, we learn that it's OK to not have your whole future mapped out upon leaving school - not love - not life.
Deborah Robins