Laurinda


My cat has photobombed this review…

Alice Pung
Black Inc. Books
Published November 2014

Thank you to the publisher for
providing this book in exchange 
for an honest review. This did not
alter my review in any way.

I’ve had some trouble writing this review. I just really loved this book, and that makes them so much harder to review. I will try but chances are I won’t even be coherent…

Laurinda is the funny and insightful story of Lucy Lam, who is given a scholarship place at the exclusive Laurinda Ladies College. This is no ordinary school. Academics is not enough – the young ladies of Laurinda must be passionate, proud and representative of their school. Embodying all of these qualities – and more – is a trio of girls known as the Cabinet, more powerful than the other students and even some of their teachers. Lucy observes the Cabinet and their ways, and as they take her under their wing, Lucy’s identity and integrity is at stake as she struggles through the new world of privilege and wealth.

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Lyrebird Hill

Lyrebird Hill
 Author: Anna Romer
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Star Rating: 4/5
Date Read: August 24th to 25th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

Anna Romer has written an intriguing story of family secrets, lies and tragedy that takes place at Lyrebird Hill, a three thousand acre property that has been in Ruby’s family since her great-grandmother’s time. After discovering her boyfriend is a cheating prick and also finding out her sister’s death on that same property eighteen years ago may not have been the accident she always thought it was, Ruby returns to Lyrebird Hill seeking answers she had locked away in a vault in her head after suffering amnesia from a head injury that same day her sister died. As her memory returns, she also uncovers family secrets from the diary and letters of a relative from the late 1800s that show that violence, tragedy and death are no strangers to their family. Ruby must search her memory and herself to face the truth of her sister’s death.

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Chasing The Ace

Author: Nicholas J. Johnson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Star Rating: 4/5
Date Read: July 10th to 17th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
Thank you to the publisher for providing this copy. This did not influence my review in any way.

Chasing The Ace is a wildly entertaining novel about an ageing conman at the end of his career and a young man who has learned everything he knows about being a con artist from movies. Richard is ready to retire from the swindling life but then he meets the young Joel, who has the potential and it’s just enough to convince Richard to take him under his wing. Joel is launched into a world where nothing is as it seems and he finds it’s definitely not like the movies.

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Amir: Friend On Loan

Author: Amra Pajalic
Publisher: Grattan Press
Star Rating: 2.5/5
Date Read: May 5th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
Thank you to Goodreads and the author Amra Pajalic for providing me with a copy of this book.

Amir: Friend On Loan tells the story of Amir and Dragan, best friends living in Australia but with different ethnic backgrounds. This has never been a problem for their friendship, until the ‘Serbs’ invade Bosnia. Dragan is from Serbia and Amir from Bosnia. This causes all kinds of problems with their families and friends, and the boys find themselves not allowed to be friends anymore.

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Writing Clementine

Author: Kate Gordon
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Star Rating: 5/5
Date Read: April 20th to 21st, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

Writing Clementine is the coming-of-age story of Clementine Darcy, who just doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere. She’s not interested in boys and fashion like her friends, and her family does not feel as whole as it did before. In a series of letters to her teacher for a class project, she explores what it’s like to be herself when she doesn’t know who she is.

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On The Beach

Author: Nevil Shute
Publisher: Pan
Star Rating: 5/5
Date Read: February 24th to 28th, 2014
Review:
When it comes to the end of the world books and movies, you don’t really hear a lot about Australia. Everyone’s so worried about the US and Europe that nobody thinks of us down here in little old Australia. On The Beach shows what happens to Australia when the rest of the world is dying out.

After radioactively bombing the hell out of each other, China, Russia, America and the rest of the northern hemisphere are no more. As the radioactive poisoning drifts southward, infecting the entire world, the last major city existing is Melbourne, Australia, where life is continuing as normal for its inhabitants who just can’t accept that the end of the world is coming to them. So they keep going to work and planting gardens and thinking about next month, next season, next year – even when, in their hearts, they know their time is limited, they just carry on. Captain Towers plans to go home to his wife and children in America when his deployment is up, the Holmes’ plan their garden they won’t be around to see, Moira Davidson takes a typing course she won’t use. No one wants to face what’s coming to them, so they just live their lives as normally as they can.

This is what got to me the most. There was no rioting, no stealing from each other, nothing untoward because there was just nothing the people could do but help each other through to the end. From the farmer who offered to take Mary Holmes milk while her husband Peter was at sea, to Moira Davidson who kept a lonely American sailor company through his last months when he was separated from his family – everyone did what they could to help their neighbour. And if we (I don’t mean ‘we’ the Australians but ‘we’ as the human race) were ever arrogant enough to get ourselves in a position that meant the extermination of life on Earth, I would hope that this is what would happen. That we wouldn’t turn against each other, or fight for the last of the supplies, but support each other through to the end.

There was something about the simple tone of this novel, and the quiet determination of the people to just live through one more day until they couldn’t anymore that was incredibly touching. It is a very bleak and worrying vision of the future. It wore something down in me just thinking of how it would be, knowing you and everyone else left on Earth had only a week or so to live. Feeling yourself getting sick, and knowing that you were the last of the human race. The novel is simply about the death of the human race and the T.S. Eliot quote in the front of the book is extremely fitting: This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.

This book is an Australian classic that we don’t talk about enough.