In evocative, crafted language, this Australian import chronicles a poignant first romance between two older teen girls.
Having left college, passionate, moody Anna lives on her own and works in a bookshop in the small town of Lismore. She first encounters Flynn as the latter plays an ethereal guitar act, then runs into her waiting tables and then again carrying groceries, at which point the dreamy, whimsical Flynn invites Anna over for tea. Thus begins an intense, almost obsessive relationship between the two. Their courtship involves impulsive day-trips, clandestine visits to each other's workplaces, numerous nights together (all of the sex happens off-page) and utter devastation on Anna's part when Flynn leaves "to take some time to think about all this." The book's middle section fills in Anna's back story, including her strained relationship with each of her parents after their divorce, an accident involving her developmentally delayed sister, an unwanted crush, a friendship mediated by the words of Finnegan's Wake and hints of mental illness. Anna's jealousy and impulsive snooping cause problems with Flynn, but more troubling is her belief—unproblematized by the narrative—that queerness is a sort of Dostoyevskian exile from a happier world.Lyrical, subtle and lovely, but perhaps more tragic than is really necessary. (Fiction. 14 & up)