A literary mystery with a Down Under flair.
Like Foxlee’s debut (The Anatomy of Wings, 2009), this is set in the Australian countryside in the 1980s and is peppered with Australian terms that may be unfamiliar to American readers (caravan, petrol) and references to historical moments that may not register (Chernobyl). But the assured and powerful writing will carry readers beyond any momentary stumbling blocks. Rose Lovell and her father are drifters. When they alight in Leonora, Rose finds herself drawn into friendship with the ebullient, sparkling Pearl and preparations for the annual Harvest Parade, which leads her to odd, old Edie Baker, a seamstress and storyteller who provides angry Rose with unconditional support. Each chapter begins with the end of the story: A girl has disappeared after the parade, a girl who might be Rose or might be Pearl, undercutting the poignant but hopeful story with the anticipation of something terrible. This is, in the end, a story about the tensions of love and anger, between parents and children, between boys and girls and men and women, and about the tension between being alone and being accepted. Fans of Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie mysteries will be delighted to find similarly smart, intricate storytelling loaded with genuinely teen concerns.
Atmospheric, lyric and unexpected. (Mystery. 13 & up)