by Emily Gale
In her second novel, South Australian Vikki Wakefield gives us another superb cast of characters led by Liliane ‘Friday’ Brown, who spends her childhood dragged between remote country towns and isolated bushland by her larger-than-life mother.
Vivienne Brown’s big personality and wild stories about the past are like a strangler vine around her daughter’s identity, and when she dies, Friday is left at seventeen with a mixture of naivety and hardness.
The grip of her past loosens enough to send her into the city in search of her father, but she’s sidetracked when she meets a group of young squatters living like city rats under the command of a beautiful but Machiavellian girl named Arden.
Friday’s bewilderment in the city is lifted when she eventually returns to the outback with the group, who have become a dangerous blend of friends, family and enemies. And, as the band falls apart, it’s up to Friday to define their ending, and so her search for self truly begins.
Wakefield creates extraordinary tension during the first half of her novel but it’s when Friday arrives in a desolate country town that the blood really gets pumping. It’s an action-packed second-half that may make you cry and will certainly make you want to champion Friday.
Wakefield’s first novel, All I Ever Wanted, revealed her as an important voice in Australian literature. This beautiful, brave book cements that position. Written for a teenage audience, it has the scope for a broader appeal.
Emily Gale is a Children’s & YA Specialist at Readings Carlton, and a Children’s & YA writer the rest of the time. Her other title is ‘Mum’, or more accurately ‘Muuuuuuuuum!’
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