CLANCY OF THE UNDERTOW by Christopher Currie


Age Range: 14 - 18
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An Australian teen copes with poverty and family problems as she fumbles toward acceptance of her lesbianism.

Clancy is a foulmouthed, snarky, scrawny 16-year-old. Her first-person narration is peppered with slang, her conversations with older brother Angus humorously vulgar. Currie’s first teen title covers a week in Clancy’s life and veers from humor to drama and back again (several times), packing in what might feel like a few too many quirky characters and life-changing events. What with her father’s possible involvement in a fatal car crash, her older brother’s obsession with cryptids, a new friend’s unfortunate experience of being severely bullied, and her secret crush’s sudden interest, Clancy is off-balance and overwhelmed. Her self-sabotaging behavior and corrosive humor will likely be familiar to many teens, but sorting through unfamiliar words and cultural references takes work and may discourage some potential readers. Most of the supporting characters are apparently white, but Clancy, her mom, and her siblings are “part-Aboriginal.” She describes their skin as “yellowy-brown” which she attributes to her “Mum’s dad’s dad.” Aside from that single reference, however, race isn’t mentioned, leaving readers to infer for themselves how much the family’s struggles are related to prejudice.

Funny, gritty, absorbing, and occasionally depressing, this is an intriguing if occasionally melodramatic glimpse of a young Australian woman’s coming-of-age. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 13th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-925240-40-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Text
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2016


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