Good Reading : November 2015
GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING NOVEMBER 2015 68 YOUNG ADULT WOM word of mouth RATINGS ★ ★ ★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ RG The Truth About Peacock Blue Rosanne Hawke When Aster Suleiman Masih’s brother dies, she gets offered a place at a government high school for girls, thinking she is going to get an education and a career. But after making a spelling mistake in an exam, she is accused by her teacher of blasphemy and sent to prison. As Aster’s life spins out of control, the story examines how prejudice results in social injustices not only in Pakistan but also in Australia. I immediately fell in love with Aster, aka Peacock Blue, who is a highly intelligent narrator. Her heart-wrenching account of being unjustly accused of a crime is enriched by sections of a social media campaign run by Aster’s Australian cousin. This campaign gives us a look at varying perspectives – not all positive – of Aster’s story. While some observations are clichéd and slogan-like, the elements of social media added a sense of contemporary realism. Rosanne Hawke’s writing style is simple and has a steady pace that keeps the pages turning. I had read a third of the book after only an hour and wanted to keep reading. The plot never feels sluggish or slow; Hawke has great timing when adding complications, and the story slowly builds to a satisfying ending. And while the ending was not happy, it left me feeling inspired to help make a difference. Full of unique observations about faith, injustice and racism, The Truth About Peacock Blue is a thought-provoking and inspiring novel. ★★★★ Allen & Unwin $15.99 Reviewed by Emma Stubley The Truth About Peacock Blue Rosanne Hawke WMasih’s brother dies, she gets offered a place at a government high school for girls, thinking she is going to get an Green Valentine Lili Wilkinson Astrid Smythe, alias Lobster Girl, is determined to save the planet. She is pretty, popular and clever, but she doesn’t just rest on her laurels. She wants to be part of the solution, unlike the stoners who don’t care about anything. Hiro, alias Shopping Trolley Boy, thinks school is a waste of time and that there is no hope of changing the system, so one must find ways to simply survive. And he thinks Astrid and her friends are spoiled brats. Both teenagers want to change their world for the better but they also want to change each other. How could such opposites possibly see any good in the other, let alone fall in love? Could it be through something as simple as gardening? Lili Wilkinson writes with war mth and joy. In Green Valentine we discover true friendship, hope, the pleasure found in simple things, the strength (and weaknesses) of families, and the importance of community. I particularly love Wilkinson’s idea of guerrilla gardening and her slogan – ‘resistance is fertile’ – through which she changes the neighbourhood one green plant at a time. This story isn’t just a romance; it’s a revolution. ★★★★ Allen & Unwin $16.99 Reviewed by Wendy Noble Age guide 14+ Green Valentine Adetermined to save the planet. She is pretty, popular and clever, but she doesn’t just rest on her laurels. She wants to be part of the solution, unlike the stoners who About Lili Wilkinson Lili Wilkinson is now completing a PhD in creative writing at the University of Melbourne. Unlike many people, she is not afraid of spiders, but she does have a morbid dread of two things: ferris wheels and vomit.
December January 2016