Genre: Contemporary > Teen Issues (Australian Setting)
Age Group: 13+
Publisher: Black Dog Books
Release Date: October 2010
Format: Paperback, 288 pages
It's a powerful glossy cover, that conveys the message of the book well. With a strong suburban theme, and a striking letter, this cover completely captured my attention.
"One car. One after-party.
Six people, six points of view.
But only one outcome."
Wow - this book is an amazing tale from a suburban Australian view. Sarah Lum and her friends are in Year 12, where life is hectic, full of surprises and suspicion. But when they discover a dead body in the woods, the haunting presence follows them back into their lives, where everything meshes into a complex tangle that brings six of them together In a car. After a late-night party. With only one possible outcome.
To my knowledge, Karen Tayleur grew up in the Western side of Melbourne, a few suburbs near where I live. And that's why I could relate so closely to this book. Every little detail was very Australian- the Rock Eisteddford (an interschool dance competition), Year 12 Formal (Australian for 'prom'), final year exams, First footy (Australian Rules Football) teams, class duxes - inherent parts of our Aussue culture that I could identify with.
And while Karen doesn't specifically place the story in Melbourne, I think that's where she drew inspiration from. It's an amazingly refreshing change to take a step back from the American culture that surrounds us, even in books, to read an Australian novel, a story that I related thoroughly to. Karen has even gotten every the aspect of teen life right - the high expectations of parents, the late-night partying, the complicated family life.
This book was just so dynamic. Every chapter had a little excerpt from a nursery rhyme that matched the plot in that chapter. The point of view also alternated, and narration varied between a distinguishable first-person-perspective and an omnipresent third-person-perspective. There was past tense, present tense and future tense. The format would alter between flashbacks, narration, vlogs, and diary entries.
I had to read chapter a couple of times, counting everyone down and finding out what happened to each of them. What had happened? And when the truth dawned on me, my mouth fell into a little 'o' and I silently screamed and put my face into my hands, nearly crying. Because it was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant, with a chilling, gripping ending.
I don't know how she managed to squeeze the beauty of this story into a book of 200 pages, but Karen Tayleur did. And the result is a beautiful, haunting tale that is intelligently written and perfectly captures Australian teen life. A tale that everyone should read.
Six at Black Dog Books | Karen Tayleur's Blog | Karen Tayleur's Official Website