Aussie YA is seemingly always a challenge for me. For reasons I can't really explain, I leave more Australian YA novels unfinished than I complete. Usually, the storylines simply don't engage. It isn't so much the cultural differences but really the overly dense style that seems to predominate. This novel is no exception. I struggled throughout to track the action which jumps through a large number of parties and dramatic interactions with decisions and actions that don't instinctively make sense. But what made the book ultimately work for me was Natalie herself. I stopped worrying about what she was doing and spent more time listening to her.
Natalie is ostensibly as much of a navel-gazing angst-ridden teen girl as you will ever find in YA, but the extent to which she self-doubts and owns that doubting is adorable and outright hilarious. Natalie's fumbled seduction attempt on Alex had me in stitches. The best part of being witty and self-deprecating at the same time is that we can sympathize with her flaws and easily admit to the ones that we resemble far too closely. So, while I have only a vague sense of what the book was actually about, I loved the heroine!
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