Cannily, Cannily by Simon French

Simon French adapts the classic plot of the ‘blow-in’, the stranger in a small town, and lets us see it from the other side. Trevor Huon struggles to fit into a place where he finds he’d rather not belong. Trevor, in his home-made clothes and bare feet, attracts the attention of his new classmates and teachers, who make fun of his hippie family. He joins the school footy team and persists – despite his hostile coach and principal, Mr. Fuller.

Instead of being a novel about learning how to fit in, Cannily, Cannily sees Trevor and his parents accept that sometimes it’s better not to. Though the Huon family’s life travelling Australia in a kombi van is not always rosy, the romance of drifting captivated me on a re-read, as it did years ago. This novel is about what makes a home and being part of a community without giving up what makes you different. It’s great for readers aged 11+.

Georgia Delaney works as a bookseller at Readings Carlton.