‘Imagine’, she says, sliding her engagement ring from her finger. ‘Imagine starting off as a lump of boring black coal and ending up like this. A perfect diamond. All those years of being squashed. That huge weight, pressing and pressing, squeezing you so tight for so long that your very crystal structure changes. Can you imagine?’
Oliver can imagine. He knows it well. It’s like the crushing feeling he gets whenever he thinks of exams and eighty per cent. It’s how he suddenly feels now with the fresh reminder of study – of precious time being wasted.
It’s nearing the end of his final year of school, and Oliver’s life currently revolves around the elusive 80 per cent average he needs to get into uni and begin a cashed-up life of clean-cut uniforms and company tennis courts. But a hectic home-life and a mother who’s always baking muffins push success just out of reach, so Oliver attempts to escape to his dad’s place down south. Instead of a constructive study environment, however, he finds a frustratingly laid-back community of seniors and pool workers who just aren’t on his wavelength. Despite his narrow and stressed-out outlook, Sunny Haven Recreation Centre proves to be calming and eye-opening in ways Oliver never anticipated.
Wavelength is a story about life and our ideas of what is and what isn’t important. Through the snapshots of lives of characters that are as funny as they are real, the events of Wavelength are a learning experience not only for Oliver, but also for the reader – a reminder that the universe is bigger than a good grade or a high-paying job. AJ Bett’s writing is a rich sensory experience, pulling the reader into the settings of the novel and refusing to let go.
A great source of perspective for students, and a fun and enlightening read for any audience.
Wavelength by AJ Betts
Fremantle Press 2010
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