Katerina took one slim, finely manicured hand out from under the vase she’d been about to fill…and deliberately let it slide from her grip. The vase, an antique, made of opaque Waterford crystal which had originally belonged to her grandmother, smashed onto the parquetry floor and sprayed dramatically into a thousand tiny pieces of blue. There was a restrained gasp from her mother and an angry snort from her father. Shocked, the three of them stared mutely at the blue-speckled floor.
They might have grown up in the same country town, but Katerina, Carmel and Jude, are three very different girls. Sharing a house in the city isn’t their idea – it just kind of happens, with Kat needing people to share her house, and the others needing a place to live for their first year at university. But sharing a house with two strangers isn’t going to be easy for any of the girls. As they navigate their way through a tumultuous year, the three find their friendships tested as each tries to get a life of her own.
Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get a Life is brilliant, classic young adult novel, first published in 1995 and newly re-released. It is still as real, as heart wrenching and as ultimately satisfying as it was when first published. The use of the three girls as viewpoint characters – each telling about a third of the book,with the next taking over where the former left off, adding her own insight and experiences – provides a unique structure, with the reader taken on a journey where they get to know each girl gradually.
It is wonderful to see this book offered to a new generation of teen readers, and adult readers will also enjoy the opportunity to be reacquainted with the trio.
Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get a Life, by Maureen McCarthy
Allen & Unwin, 2012
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