Steal My Sunshine

Emily Gale

Steal My Sunshine
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Steal My Sunshine

Emily Gale

“Steal my Sunshine is a gorgeous read, full of mystery, history, hope and heartbreak. I was gripped all the way to the bittersweet end.” - Simmone Howell, author of Everything is Beautiful.

During a Melbourne heatwave, Hannah’s family life begins to distort beyond her deepest fears. It’s going to take more than a cool change to fix it, but how can a girl who lives in the shadows take on the task alone?

Feeling powerless and invisible, Hannah seeks refuge in the two anarchists of her life: her wild best friend, Chloe, and her eccentric grandmother, Essie, who look like they know how life really works.

But Hannah’s loyalty to both is tested, first by her attraction to Chloe’s older brother, and then by Essie’s devastating secret that sheds new light on how the family has lost its way. Even if Hannah doesn’t know what to believe in, she’d better start believing in herself.

Combined with Hannah’s contemporary story, at the heart of Steal My Sunshine is the revelation of a shameful aspect of Australia’s history and how it affected thousands of girls and women - the forced adoptions that saw ‘wayward girls’ and single mothers forced to give up their babies by churches and hospitals. The practice endured for decades, and only now are the numbers and the heart-wrenching stories coming to light.

Review

Hannah feels like an outsider in her family. She is constantly at war with her older brother, and her parents’ relationship is struggling. Her best friend, Chloe, is lively and full of sass but their relationship is a source of tension too.

Meanwhile, Hannah’s grandmother Essie is a pillar of support and love, but also a source of worry and wonder. Essie has a dark and mysterious past that has been veiled for many years. As it comes cautiously to light, it provides Hannah and her family with a history that is necessary for their peace.

Taking place during a hot Melbourne summer, Steal My Sunshine has history, mystery and a little bit of romance. Hannah gains both clarity and confidence as she steps into adulthood, and author Emily Gale has created a great character in the anarchic Essie. The novel touches on many emotions experienced by teenagers and the lasting effects of trauma, while gently celebrating family and forgiveness.


Kim Gruschow works as a booksller at Readings Hawthorn.

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