Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Leaving Jetty Road, by Rebecca Burton

The story of three girls (Nat, Lise, and Sofia) in their last year at an all-girl's school in Australia. Sofia is the one who's rebellious and sure, Lise is insecure and developing an eating disorder, while Nat just "drifts" through life, jealously watching the others "swim" off. Told from only the viewpoint of Lise and Nat, we never quite learn if Sofia really is together or if that's just the other girls' impressions, but it is clear that they all struggle a bit with relationships (boys, parents, and each other) trying to stumble their way through life. Along the way, there are jobs, parties, and school to deal with.

The story has no real plot per se, but it does have a number of nice observations about human nature. Each of the girls is flawed in painfully realistic ways. It doesn't do much to make any of them likeable, but you will sympathize with their plights and their feelings. It is a bit annoying that we never really hear Sofia's voice. I would have rather liked to have heard what she was thinking. But, all in all, given my incredibly poor luck with Aussie YA, this is a pretty outstanding book. Not as much fun as Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (which it owes an obvious debt to), but more realistic and true to the heart.

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