Awkward, funny and poignant, Jarvis 24 places the reader in the mind of 16-year-old Marc Jarvis, who tries to step outside the boundaries of his private school life by taking on work experience for two weeks in a car yard. Within days Marc has made friends with 24-year-old Mikey, who is gay and has run away from home in Queensland, and met Electra, a girl who has moved away from her family in Broome to follow her dream to be a world-class sprinter. As he falls in love with Electra, and deals with the memories of his first girlfriend who died years earlier, Marc grapples with a world so much less simple than the world of school that he is used to.
by Julia Jackson, Readings Carlton
Metzenthen’s fabulous new novel sees Marc ‘Jarvy’ Jarvis take on work experience at a car yard. A little unusual perhaps, but there is a method to his madness: the girl Electra, a talented sprinter from Broome who is in Melbourne to pursue her dream. His work experience allows him to develop bonds with his colleagues and do a bit more ‘growing up’, and his developing relationship with Electra prompts Marc to reflect upon the death of a childhood friend and girlfriend.
Metzenthen’s coming-of-age story about life, love, loss and finding one’s place in the world has many great aspects. It’s funny and poignant, with interesting characters, in particular Marc who, in contrast to his best mate, seems more layered.
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