Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2013 – Annette’s Wrap-Up

See the AWW13 Challenge we set ourselves here

While we will only be reviewing 1 book each, we thought it might be interesting to rate the other books that we read. I’ve also added hyperlinks to other blogger reviews that reflect my feelings of the book.  I am slightly nervous about this as I hope it is not portrayed as though I am using others material as my own.  So, a disclaimer that I hope will suffice; Yes, I am linking to other reviews due to my own laziness, but I have chosen to do this (as opposed to not posting anything at all) in the hope of creating more traffic for people who actually have skill and experience in writing reviews.

1 star – I hated it and I would like those hours of my life back.

2 stars – I finished it, I disliked it and I would not recommend it.

3 stars – I enjoyed it although I wouldn’t read it again.  I may or may not recommend it.

4 stars – I really liked this book and would definitely recommend it to others.

5 stars – I will become comparative to a drug pusher and ensure that every person I come into contact with reads this book.

First things first, my ratings;

 jellicoe

5 (billion) stars –  Instead of re-directing you to another bloggers review, in this case I am going to suggest you check out our blog if you haven’t already done so.  In it, you will find endless rantings about how much I (and Rachel) love this and other Melina Marchetta books.  You can also find my thoughts on the novel here.

crow country

2 stars –  review here

shift

1 star –  review here

pocketful of eyes

3.5 stars – review here

girl saves boy

3.5 stars – review here

mercy

3 stars – review here

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, my first ever review…

raw blue

4 stars

In 2011 I saw Kirsty Eagar at the Reading Matters Conference.  I hadn’t read Raw Blue at this stage, but despite this, something that Kirsty said stayed with me; it was along the lines of ‘not wanting to detail exactly what had happened because that isn’t what the story is about’.  I also remember the audience clapping at this point, so if what Kirsty said hadn’t peaked my interest, then the effect on the audience certainly did.  Despite my curiosity and wanting, I didn’t read Raw Blue for almost 2 years.  But I’m glad I did because now, what Kirsty said back in Storey Hall in 2011, makes absolute sense.

Raw Blue focuses on the life of Carly, 2 years after she is the victim of a terrible crime.  As a result of this experience, Carly drops out of Uni, moves to Manly, gets a night shift job at a Café and spends her days doing the only thing she still has a passion for; surfing.  With such a large focus on surfing, there is naturally a lot of ‘surf talk’.  At first I found this a bit off-putting because I thought I wouldn’t be able to relate, but this wasn’t the case at all.  Carly is so passionate about surfing, that I found myself relating to that, leaving the reason behind the passion to be largely irrelevant

The book was also incredibly refreshing, not only due to the believable and ‘normal’ characters (there is a boy in the book who doesn’t have a crooked smile or play guitar!), but because it wasn’t just another teenage angst, triangle love story.  As a YA reader, I find it incredibly frustrating when a) people assume that all YA novels are teen romance or sci-fi and b) I read a series of books that do fit this criteria. So it’s always nice to find a YA novel that deals with tough subjects.  If you haven’t read Raw Blue, you may want to stop reading at this point as there will be *spoilers*.  Raw Blue is more than a story about a girl who likes to surf; it’s a story about a girl who is trying to overcome the emotional and psychological effects that come with being a victim of rape.  When I saw Kirsty speaking at Reading Matters 2011, this is what she was referring too.  The book tells you enough to know what happened, but it doesn’t go into detail – and it doesn’t need to.  The main reason that I enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to others, is that Kirsty was brave enough to tackle an incredibly tricky topic and she did it in a way that was informative and respectful.  As a Youth Worker, I come into contact with too many young people, male and female, who have been victims of sexual abuse and it is still such a taboo topic.  So thank you Kirsty Eagar for telling a story that demands to be told.

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