Australian author Wakefield spins a tense, multilayered tale about loyalty, memory and survival.
Liliane Brown, more often called Friday, strikes out on her own 42 days after her mother Vivienne’s death from cancer. Having spent most of her time traveling from place to place at a moment’s notice and taking in her mother’s larger-than-life stories, she has no use for staying at her well-heeled grandfather’s too-still, too-big house. On a train platform, she meets a young street kid whose muted voice from a child-abuse–related injury has given him the name Silence. Silence takes Friday to the squat where he lives with a pack of street kids, each carefully imagined and drawn. Most compelling, perhaps, is charismatic Arden, the group’s de facto leader. Arden’s ruthlessness is revealed slowly and chillingly as the group travels and takes reckless steps according to her whims. As Friday’s bond with Silence keeps her invested in the group, her conflicts with Arden lead to a dangerous rift among the street kids. Imagery—a dust-filled ghost town, harrowing dreams of drowning—is vivid and evocative, and Friday’s changing sense of herself and her relationship to her mother’s legacy give the story another layer of depth.
Lyrical, suspenseful and haunting. (Fiction. 14 & up)