A spotlight on The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge

The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge by Clare Strahan is one of the six books shortlisted for this year’s Readings Young Adult Book Prize.

‘You’d think since colonisation that Black history and White history would be the same history but that doesn’t take into account history being written by the victors.’

– Clare Strahan, The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge

Here’s what the judges said…

‘Fifteen-year-old Vanessa Partridge spends every summer holiday at her wealthy family’s estate in beachside Shearwater, visiting her best friend at the caravan park, practising her cello, and keeping up with her father’s demanding standards. This year, however, things are different. For one, her brother is bringing his best friend Darith, and Van is positive good girls in plaits aren’t supposed to have the thoughts she has about him. Then there’s Bodhi, the older environmental activist who takes a keen interest in her and in her father’s development plans for the town.

In this funny and frank coming-of-age story, Clare Strahan addresses issues of consent, shame and agency. Van is a delightful character, insatiably curious and hilarious, with an endearing tendency to rattle off esoteric facts to mask her (sometimes confused, often embarrassing) inner thoughts. Strahan is a keen observer of the messy inner lives of teenagers, with a sophisticated grasp on the uneven power dynamics of attraction, and she handles the very light and very dark moments (which may be triggering for some readers) with grace and compassion. This is a vital and entertaining contemporary novel, punctuated with humour, entertaining sibling and friend dynamics, and the aching poignancy of growing up.’

– Georgia Phelan, chair of the 2019 Readings Young Adult Book Prize judging panel, in consultation with and on behalf of the 2019 judging panel.


Meet the author…

Clare Strahan is a Melbourne writer who once rattled out a novel on a manual typewriter by candlelight. Her debut young adult novel, Cracked, was shortlisted for the 2015 Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. She managed the fiction reading team at Overland journal for several years, was a peer selection panellist for Varuna, the National Writers House 2014–2016 and teaches creative writing for the PWE Associate Degree at RMIT. She is also the creator of the Literary Rats cartoon.

Read more about the Readings Young Adult Book Prize 2019 shortlist here.

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The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge

The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge

Clare Strahan

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