The Other Christy

Oliver Phommavanh

The Other Christy
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The Other Christy

Oliver Phommavanh

For the last two years, Christy Ung has been in the same class as the loud-mouthed Christie Owens – and now it’s 3rd time unlucky in 6C.

Christie Owens is the popular one so everybody calls Christy Ung, the Other Christy. She moved from Cambodia in Year 4 and is still a loner at school.

Christy’s one solace is baking with her Auntie who suggests they bake a cake for Christy to share with her class on her birthday. Maybe a sweet treat can win them over and Christy might find a friend. She just didn’t expect it to be Christie.

When Christie is ditched by her besties, the two girls who share a name strike an unlikely friendship. Christy lets down her guard, revealing secrets about her weird upbringing with her clean-obsessed Grandpa. But Christy soon realises that she and her new friend are worlds apart. Can she ever shake off her Grandpa’s strange habits? And will the two girls ever have more in common than just their name?

Review

Christy is on the cusp of turning 11, and she is still struggling to fit in at school and find a true friend. In her school class there is another girl with the same name – a louder, more popular Christy, who is often mean. How Christy is able to turn this relationship around and find her place in the classroom is the plot of this gentle book about female friendship.

Christy and her grandpa have come to Australia from Cambodia after her mum died. Her grandfather in particular is still suffering from the after-effects, manifesting in an obsession with cleanliness. Luckily, Christy’s aunt lives nearby and they spend time together baking. Christy learns that giving food is a powerful way to win the hearts of her classmates.

The Other Christy doesn’t play for laughs like many of Phommavanh’s titles, but it is written with great compassion and an understanding of the emotional whirlwind of classroom politics. Readers aged between 9 and 11 who enjoy stories about friendship will have plenty to keep them turning the pages.


Angela Crocombe is the Children’s Book Buyer at Readings Carlton.

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