Tiny and Nola should never have met. Tiny scrounges for food on the streets of Sydney, Australia, and is driven to steal sanitary supplies from a pharmacy. Nola and her friends are picking out $1000+ dresses for their Year 12 formal in a trendy Harbourside boutique.
But Tiny hears the writing group at homeless shelter Hope Lane has a free supper, and Nola needs a mandatory volunteer gig to pass Year 12.
On the surface, they couldn’t have anything in common, but out of fear Tiny and Nola have both made bad choices that hurt their families deeply. Neither will read out their creative writing to the group, but as they shyly exchange their poems to be read later, friendship and courage grow.
This is a tough book, peeling back the reality of life for people on the streets. There are drug and alcohol references, though Tiny avoids both.
One of the most striking qualities of this book is the cast of memorable “secondary” characters. Nola’s Dad deserves a book of his own.
But it is the courageous members of the Hope Lane writing group who hold centre stage, fighting rejection, self-doubt and the tug of the past as they set out to prove that, ‘Books can save anyone. If they’re the right ones.’
Or, maybe, the right one.