YA Fiction for Boys: Part Three

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YA Fiction for Boys: Part Three

Review of ‘You Don’t Even Know’

Trish Buckley continues with her series this week. Part One is here and Part Two is here.

you-don-t-even-knowToday I want to highlight an Australian young adult novel published this year, You Don’t Even Know by Sue Lawson and published by Walker Books. There have been so many excellent texts, especially presenting strong female characters, like Wildlife by Fiona Wood and Girl Defective by Simone Howell, but Sue Lawson has crafted her story around Alex, a teenage boy. This heart-breaking book has a very interesting structure. While the present happenings are chronological and the secrets revealed in a linear way, the flashbacks to the past events are random although deliberately so. In essence, in the present, we see Alex in a coma in hospital. We know he was hit by a bus, and that he is barely alive, but without his memory of it, no one knows whether the collusion was deliberate or accidental.

It is the flashbacks to the past that inform readers as to why suicide might have been an option for him. We see him interact with his demanding father and bullying older brother. We see that no matter how hard he tries with his swimming, his life guard job and his water polo, nothing is good enough in his father’s eyes. In other areas of his life, we see him try so hard to be a good person, but somehow he always ends up looking like the instigator of the trouble. And then there is Mia, his youngest sister. We see the way he loves her when he dresses like a fairy and when he takes her swimming and when he babysits her. Slowly we realise something tragic has happened and that she is now gone. Oh Alex, my heart bleeds for you.

Once he comes out of the coma, Alex gets to know the girl in the room with him, a girl called Mackie, who has cancer. His growing protectiveness of her helps him with his own recovery and he has to find even more courage deep within him to survive his returning memory, and Mackie’s worsening condition.

Sue Lawson’s ability to make us feel hope and optimism at the end of this very tough road is a testament to her writing ability. It’s a great book about families, friendship and dealing with grief. Next time, I will give you a lighter book, although it’s still got some angsty moments, Reality Boy by A.S King.

The cover and title links of this book takes you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here.

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YA Fiction for Boys

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3 Comments

  1. rich on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:05 am

    this does not seem to be available on Amazon.com. do you know when its coming to America?

    • Anonymous on Apr 1, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Hi There, As it’s only just been released in Australia I think it will be a while before it comes to America – annoying huh?

      • rich on Apr 4, 2014 at 4:53 am

        yes! thanks tho.

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