The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub
It’s always nice to be given an Australian author to review as I’m a huge advocate for Aussie YA. Having not read Sarah Ayoub’s first book, Hate Is Such A Strong Word, I wasn’t sure what to expect from her latest novel, The Yearbook Committee. Luckily, I was in for a good read.
It’s the final year at high school for Ryan, Tammi, Charlie, Matty and Gillian. Ryan, the school captain, has had his dreams of being a soccer player squashed after an accident leaves him unable to play anymore, while Charlie just wants to do well at her new school so she can quickly get out of Sydney and back to Melbourne. Tammi and Matty both have family issues that need to be resolved so there’s hope for their dreams for life after high school and Gillian is just trying to ignore her bullies and create a yearbook to remember. Not only do these five teens have exams to think about, there is a world of personal problems that need tackling. Throw in the yearbook, something none of these teens (except for Gillian) want to be a part of and life is full to the brim. With these five completely different personalities forced together to produce a yearbook, conflict is inevitable. As insults are hurled and feelings are hurt, one has to ask the question: can the five manage to finish the yearbook and help each other survive Year 12?
The Yearbook Committee is a compelling read. The characters are well established with the dialogue between the five witty and believable. The plot is well set-out, however I did feel the early drama in the opening chapter about the party was slightly unnecessary. That said, it’s a minor glitch in what is otherwise a great read.
Ages 14 and up.
Katherine Dretzke is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.