Ava and Gideon are two wounded young people whose unexpected connection provokes the best and worst in each other in this witty Australian import.
Ava is mourning the loss of her best friend, Kelly; Gideon is in the throes of anxiety and depression. As Ava’s life unravels following Kelly’s suicide, Gideon joins her as a fellow employee at The Magic Kebab. The two strike up a bond commiserating over rude customers, Gideon’s poetry, old-fashioned letters they write and mail to one another, and a boss with an unfortunate tattoo. Gideon doesn’t know that Ava is very much involved with her deceased friend’s brother, Lincoln, and Ava doesn’t know how much Gideon is in love with her. Told in alternating voices, this page-turning novel displays a great deal of artful charm. The only low points are the casual amusement Ava displays in response to her Greek immigrant grandmother’s racist remarks. This is particularly troubling as Kelly and Lincoln’s family is Maori (other main characters are white). It also doesn’t help that Lincoln is portrayed negatively, as aggressive and controlling. However, Gideon’s tight-knit family with two loving lesbian moms is a bright spot.
Would have been truly stellar if not for the missed opportunities for positive representation. (Fiction. 16-adult)