Let's never speak of this again by Megan Williams

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Abby is sixteen years old, living a full and active life, and enjoying her friendship circle. Complications are minimal, but her Meema (her grandmother) has slipped into a state of memory fog from which there is no return. Being a dutiful daughter, studying hard, visiting Meema, shooting practice goals and hanging out with her friends, especially Ella, is a relatively smooth life. New girl Chloe arrives and throws an unexpected twist into the friendship dynamics, a first kiss and negotiating feeling ‘left out’ are woven into the story of Abby’s unremarkable life. It is however the unexpected and traumatic death of Ella’s brother, Will, that really creates a major turning point in the story of Abby’s transition to maturity and understanding. There are still some things she is yet to experience and there is plenty of time, but can friendship heal grief and will she be able to connect properly with family and friends as she negotiates what lies ahead in her life?  

This is like seeing inside the life and mind of a sixteen-year-old. There are moments of angst, the uncomfortable exploration of growing-up with the addition of alcohol, relationship ups and downs, hopes and dreams, and the desire for romance and the curiosity about kissing and sex. There are also serious journeys into grief and supporting those who grieve. Not everything is easy. The best part of this book of insights is the gentleness that Megan Williams uses to convey the story. The characters are not awful, ‘mean-girl’ types, and relationships seem relatively low-key, even when they do not flow well, and parents are genuinely shown to be trying their best.  The 100-goals-a-day for Abby’s Netball preparation adds a delightful normality to her life. Told in small snippets, almost like diary entries, the tale just travels lightly through the months of her Year 10 life. Exams and career choices are still some way off, but boys and physical connections are becoming important in their lives. This is a book for teens who are at a similar stage of their life journey. It  details the internal struggles and conversations of a girl trying to do life well, but not always getting it right, but nevertheless learning along the way. This is a book for 14-18 year-olds. It won the Text Prize in 2022. Teacher's notes are available.

Themes Coming-of-age, Friendship, Grief, First kiss, Teen sex, Relationships, Family dynamics, Memories, Dementia, Netball.

Carolyn Hull