Can’t Say it Went to Plan

Gabrielle Tozer

Can't Say it Went to Plan
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Can’t Say it Went to Plan

Gabrielle Tozer

School’s out.

Forget study, exams and mapping out the future. For the next seven days, the only homework is partying with friends, making new ones and living in the moment. There are no parents or curfews - and no rules.

Zoe, Samira and Dahlia are strangers, but they have something in common: their plans for a dream holiday after their final year of school are flipped upside-down before they even arrive at the beach.

From hooking up and heartache, to growing apart, testing friendships and falling in love, anything can go down this week. 


Gone are the long nights of revising and fretting over textbooks for recent high school graduates Zoë, Samira and Dahlia. With exams finally done and dusted, they are ready to go on Schoolies, a week of fun, sun and partying that promises to be the break they need after the intensity of Year 12.

But not everything is perfect: Zoë, who has her heart set on a career as a doctor, is unsure if she’ll be accepted into her first preference university; Samira is feeling increasingly isolated from her friends; and Dahlia is still grieving the loss of her childhood best friend, who died a year ago and whose passing she has not fully processed. Amid the heady swirl of clubs, concerts, foam parties and theme parks, the three friends must also overcome their growing anxieties about who they are and what the future holds in store for them.

The end of year 12 is a weird time for students. It’s a time when, after 13 years of constant and guided education, you’re finally expected to go out into the world and make your own choices. This can be confusing, stressful and complex, even for the most prepared of high school leavers. In Can’t Say It Went to Plan, Gabrielle Tozer manages to accurately depict and explore this unique situation, while also tackling more sensitive topics, such as grief, mental health issues and friendship troubles, in a way that is engaging, honest and, most of all, inspiring.

As someone who recently completed year 12 (and Schoolies!) I deeply connected with Zoë, Samira and Dahlia’s fear. Tozer handles each of the characters respectfully and realistically, and readers will find something to identify with in these three girls, whether they have been through year 12 or not. Perfect for ages 14+.

Ngaire Bogemann works as a bookseller at Readings Kids.

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