Untidy Towns

Kate O’Donnell    

On the spur of the moment, Adelaide Longley walks out of her expensive Melbourne boarding school and boards the train home to her country town.

            We might expect Addie’s family to be upset, even angry, but the relationships in this family are warm, supportive and depicted in rich detail. They want Addie to make good, on her terms.

            Now the local girl who was so smart she won a scholarship, has to reconnect with her old friends at the local high school, find a job, and think about her future.

            This is a gentle, leisurely story, that relies on the characters drawing you in and keeping you hooked. This is pretty well guaranteed when the teens in Emyvale wrestle with the universal questions of life, love, friendship and their futures, as they negotiate the last year of high school.

Will my grades be good enough to get me into my preferred course at my preferred uni? Do I really want to go to uni? Do I want to travel first? How do I follow my dreams when my parents expect me to stay on the farm?

And, even, sadly, what if my parents expect I’ll never amount to anything?

Addie has rejected the narrow confines of her school’s expectations, but what now?

She (sort of) buckles down to studying at home for her finals, falls (sort of) in love with Jarrod, is firmly steered into a part-time job, and falls easily into the old rhythms of country town life.

            This is a book for older teens, as Addie and her friends begin to explore their sexuality, but much is left to the reader’s imagination.

            What is beautifully written into the story is the power of friendship, the knitted togetherness of community across generations, and the joy of finding, striving for and following your dreams.

Published by Julia Archer

Julia is a world traveler, a writer of adult and teen fiction, and a keen photographer and reader.

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