Fifteen Love, by R. M. Corbett

Boys are immature. They only use one per cent of their brain. They only ever talk about cars or sport. they only think about sex. I read somewhere that boys think about sex – on average – once every fifteen seconds! That’s four times a minute! Two hundred and forty times per hour. I checked on my calculator – it’s a total of 5, 760 times a day, assuming boys also dream about sex…If this is true it is a real worry. Fifteen seconds is barely enough time to say hello. No wonder boys never make any sense when you talk to them. There is one boy at our school who is not like the others. Will Holland definitely has something on his mind. Most lunchtimes he sits alone on the grass, wearing a tracksuit and looking very out of place. He eats his lunch, then he lies back on the grass, staring up at the sky for ages and ages. What does he see up there? What does he think about?

Mia is a focussed and mature student. Will is a talented sportsman. Mia has very little information about the thought processes boys follow, and what she does know isn’t very reassuring. Will acknowledges he has no idea about girls, particularly how to talk to them. Fifteen Love uses alternating viewpoints to tell their overlapping story. There is an attraction there but neither knows the rules of the game they’re playing. Their family dynamics are very different, but each has their own pressures. Misunderstandings abound as do bad jokes about violas, Mia’s instrument of choice. And of course there are friendships, with all the drama and change that they entail.

Mia and Will have both been focussed on developing their individual talents. Mia plays viola, Will plays tennis. But things are changing. Each is noticing the other. They seem too different for a relationship to work. But there is no denying the attraction. Themes here include family dynamics, friendship, and commitment (to their talent). Mia and Will move in very different social circles at school. Mia finds herself examining the nature of her friendships as she begins to know Will. Will’s life is complicated, not just at school. Fifteen Love shows two people getting to know one another by just being themselves. My only quibble is with this title, although I like the double level meaning. The characters seem older than fifteen, and some older readers may not pick it up, which would be a shame, as it is a great read.

Fifteen Love , R. M. Corbett
Allen & Unwin 2009
ISBN: 9781742370156

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author