I think Kristin recommended this one to me, in which case, props to you! Loved it. I finished it over a dinner shift at work and was totally sobbing in the library kitchen. But don’t worry; it’s not just a sad book — there’s plenty of funny, romantic, and hopeful in there as well.
I’m going to be vague about plot, because it’s nearly impossible to explain without giving things away. It’s a school story, a friendship story, and a family story, and that’s all I’ll say about that. (It also manages to hit several of my story kinks at once: Everything She Thought She Knew Was a Lie and epic connections between family members across time and chosen family. Plus, of course, Australia. Ooooh.)
I will say it took me a long time to get into it, longer than I would normally give a book, but I stuck with it because it came so highly recommended. There’s a long stretch where you will have not the foggiest clue what the hell is going on. “The Brigadier”? “The Hermit”? Doesn’t anyone have a bloody name in this book?
Power through that, though; it’s worth it. Even the stupid school territory battle, a convention I normally hate (I can never understand why kids in books take that sort of thing so seriously), comes clear in the end. It’s a beautifully put together gem of a book that would, I think, work packaged for adults as well. (If you are an adult who doesn’t normally read YA, let me know what you think.)
Question: Did you play some sort of Very Serious Game when you were in school, or did you know people who did? Something to do with territory wars, or hazing, or anything like that, where there were leaders and complicated rules that everyone took as gospel? And if so, can you explain to me why on earth you cared? Is it a British (and, I guess, Australian) thing?