Girl Defective

Simmone Howell

Girl Defective
Pan Macmillan Australia
1 March 2013

Girl Defective

Simmone Howell

It’s summer in St Kilda. Fifteen-year-old Sky is looking forward to great records and nefarious activities with Nancy, her older, wilder friend. Her brother - Super Agent Gully - is on a mission to unmask the degenerate who bricked the shop window. Bill the Patriarch seems content to drink while the shop slides into bankruptcy.

Then a poster of a mysterious girl and her connection to Luke, the tragi-hot new employee sends Sky on an exploration into the dark heart of the suburb. What begins as a toe-dip into wilder waters will end up changing the frames of Sky’s existence. Love is strange. Family Rules. In between there are teenage messes, rock star spawn, violent fangirls, creepy old guys and accidents waiting to happen. If the world truly is going to hell in a hand-basket then at least the soundtrack is kicking.

Sky Martin is Girl Defective: funny, real and dark at the edges.


Sky lives above the family record shop with a dad who loves beer too much and a brother, Gully, who has trouble fitting into society’s idea of normal. Oh, and there’s Nancy – Sky’s idol of sorts. She doesn’t live there but she’s around, in a world of her own.

Sky spends summer at the shop putting zinc on Elvis’s nose and dusting the records. But when a brick is thrown through the shop window, a girl drowns in the St Kilda canal and a new boy starts working at the store, the season turns into anything but ordinary. Gully leads the investigation into the window vandalism and Sky becomes obsessed with the dead girl from the canal. Nancy becomes scarce as she takes up being a groupie for one of the local musicians, and the new boy plasters pictures of a stencilled girl crying around St Kilda.

With investigations, new friendships and experiencing the world with all its quirks and problems, Girl Defective, simply put, is brilliant. Once again, Simmone Howell captures her audience with unique characters, captivating situations and a creativity that always astounds me. I know it’s early days but I can’t see anything beating this one for my book of the year!

For ages 15 and up.

Katherine Dretzke

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