Only Ever Always

Penni Russon

Only Ever Always
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Only Ever Always

Penni Russon

WINNER: 2012 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature Who dreams the dreamer? Claire lives in an ordinary world where everything is whole. But inside Claire is broken. The silvery notes of her music box allow her an escape from her grief into a dream-world, into Clara’s world. Clara’s world has always been broken. She finds broken things to swap at the markets; she walks the treacherous route past the brown river where lone dogs prowl; she avoids the seamy side when she can, but with powerful people pulling the strings, it’s not always possible. Which world is real? Claire’s and Clara’s paths are set to collide, and each has much to lose - or gain. Original and poetic, this captivating novel explores dreams, grief, friendship and love through a brilliantly constructed dystopian fantasy world. ‘Like the sound of the little loved music box that is so pivotal to the story, Penni Russon’s Only Ever Always is both deeply touching and strangely eerie, leaving the reader with a mixture of warmth and apprehension, yearning and wonder - about death, life, language, art,dreams and childhood. Fascinating and absolutely memorable.’ - Ursula Dubosarsky

Review

Can it be that somewhere we have a double? Someone in another place or another world in whom we recognise ourselves? Claire’s loved uncle is in an accident and in her state of shock the music box he gave her at birth becomes painfully important to her. Clara, living in a dystopian future, finds a broken music box as she frantically hunts for a cure for her beloved housemate, Andrew. Somehow Clara’s chaotic, visually rich land in which she finds herself the half willing prisoner of the Velvet Lady invades Claire’s dreams, and their worlds collide.

A mysterious story of love, grief and identity. I found it odd but compelling. 13+

Kathy Kozlowski is a childrens' book specialist at Readings Carlton.

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