Monday, 1 October 2018

Girl Running, Boy Falling by Kate Gordon

Girl Running, Boy Falling by Kate Gordon is a contemporary YA novel set in small-town Tasmania. It seems that most of the non-spec fic YA books I read are on the depressing side of things, and this is no exception! It's a quick read, but one that's both thoughtful and a bit heavy. I found it difficult to put down and inhaled it in less than a day.

Do you ever look at the sky and think that’s where we belong? Like maybe the world is the wrong way around and we’re meant to be up there, floating?

Sixteen-year-old Therese lives in a small town on a small island. Her Aunt Kath calls her Tiger. Her friends call her Resey. The boy she loves calls her Champ. She’s a lot of different things for a lot of different people.

Therese has always had her feet on the ground. She’s running through high school, but someone in her life is about to fall …

And when he does, her perfect world falls with him. For the first time in her life, Therese can’t stand being on the ground.

Girl Running, Boy Falling is a raw read about a girl and boy— who are beautifully flawed.

Girl Running, Boy Falling is written from the point of view of Tiger, who starts off the book going through usual teenage stuff, perhaps slightly amplified by her family situation and lower-than-average self-esteem. She doesn't feel like she has her life together, despite presenting as a bit of a workaholic to others, and I found her and her friends to be a mixture of relatable and frustrating.

Gordon does a good job of setting up the background for Tiger and Wally before shattering Tiger's world. While I suspected what was coming, it didn't happen quite when I expected and that increased the impact for me. And increased my sympathy for Tiger and her friends. After that I found myself connecting to Tiger more strongly and found her reactions very believable. As I have already said, I had difficulty putting the book down, all the way through.

It's very tempting to make a comparison of this book with Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta, so I will, briefly. Girl Running, Boy Falling could be the new generation's Looking for Alibrandi, dealing with some similar issue but also updated with issues more relevant to teens of the twenty-teens than the nineteen-nineties when Alibrandi was published. But aside from sharing a theme or two, Girl Running, Boy Falling is it's own book that tells its own story and deals with difficult issues in its own way. It's also about teenagers at an Australian public school, which I've recently come to learn is not all that common in Australian YA, so that may be an additional point of attraction for some readers.

Overall, Girl Running, Boy Falling is excellent and I highly recommend it to fans of contemporary YA and anyone interested in the Australian setting. It's well written and gripping and I will definitely be reading more of Gordon's books at some point in the future.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: October 2018, Rhiza Edge
Series: No
Format read: eARC
Source: Review copy from author
Disclaimer: Note that the author is a friend. Nevertheless, I have endeavoured to write an unbiased review

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