Notes from the Teenage Underground

Simmone Howell (AUTHOR)

Notes from the Teenage Underground
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Notes from the Teenage Underground

Simmone Howell (AUTHOR)

Taking their anti-social edge one step further, seventeen-year-old Gem and her friends Mira and Lo have decided to go Underground. Their activities will be “extreme”, “anti-establishment”, “avant-garde” and “debauched”.

While Gem makes an underground film and Mira sets about pursuing “boys-without-barcodes” no one knows what it is that Lo - the most subversive of the three - has planned. But in the back of her mind, Gem’s worried. She feels the balance of the trio’s friendship is always weighted against her. And as the weeks draw closer to Christmas, appearances start to deceive and relationships flounder. For all the promise of the group, Underground seems a dark place to be.

It will take great films, bad poetry and a pantheon of inspirational guides - from Andy Warhol to Germaine Greer - to help Gem work out the true meaning of friendship, where family fits in, and that the best parts of life aren’t always underground.


This remarkable novel manages to be countercultural and rebellious, yet rock solid as well. Three school girls set out to create an ‘underground happening’ to divert impending holiday boredom. They are ‘cool’ and edgy and the tension between creative and destructive interpretations of ‘underground’ and the resultant changes in friendships and priorities is explored with wit and insight. One of my picks of the year.

Kathy Kozlowski is from Readings Carlton.

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