Loner by Georgina Young

Loner won the Text Prize in 2019. It is the universal story of becoming an adult and all the uncertainty, drifting and questioning that entails. Some lucky young people know who they are and what they want – and then there are the Lonas of this world. Lona is funny and spiky, lacking in self-esteem but wonderfully her own true self. Having dropped out of her art course at uni, her creativity is unfulfilled; she is stuck in her old world while a new one passes her by. Her best friend and soul mate is being elusive, her new boyfriend is definitely not a soul mate and her new job at a supermarket is spectacularly mind-numbing and strangely comforting; her life is one big paradox.

Loner is an insular novel, it navigates the bewildering small dramas of life as a backdrop to the big decisions that young adults face, and does it with dry humour. Most of the time, all Lona wants is to get into her friendly PJs and pretend there isn’t a world she should participate in. She’d love to go to bed and wake up the next day fully formed. She is intelligent but lacks the language to make herself understood or to ask her family and friends the important questions so she in turn can understand them. Inevitably, classic misinterpretations lead to shaky foundations for relationships – haven’t we all been there?

I loved Lona and Loner. I loved Lona’s endearing honesty and even when she strayed at times, she mostly stayed true to herself. Even if she didn’t know who she was, we pretty much did and really felt she would come through okay. Good one, Text, you chose well and I can’t wait to recommend this book far and wide.

Alexa Dretzke is the assistant manager and children’s book buyer at Readings Hawthorn.

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Georgina Young

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