Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get a Life, by Maureen McCarthy

They might have grown up in the same country town, bu Katerina, Carmel and Jude, are three very different girls.

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

Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get a Life, by Maureen McCarthy
Allen & Unwin, 2012
ISBN 9781742379517

This book can be purchased in good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Somebody's Crying, by Maureen McCarthy

When Alice looks up and sees Tom staring at her, everything closes down around them and becomes very still. No one is breathing. No one else is in the room. Tom feels as if he can see right into the heart of Alice Wishart. It lies open before him, like a wide, long pane of glittering glass. So delicate and beautiful and…ready to break.

Three years ago Lillian Wishart was murdered. Tom’s best friend was charged, but not found guilty, of the murder, and Tom wanted nothing more to do with him. Now, though, Tom is going back to his home town, and Jonty wants to talk to him about a theory about who might have killed Lillian. Life gets even more complicated when Tom gets reacquainted with Alice, Lillian’s daughter and Jonty’s cousin. As Tom, Jonty and Alice revisit the past and try to find a way to move forward, the secrets each is hiding have the power to tear their fragile friendship further apart.

Somebody’s Crying is a powerful young adult novel, drawing the reader into the mystery of the murder and into the lives of the three main characters, each with problems which predate the murder as well as the more obvious ones arising from it. Using the alternate perspectives of the three main characters allows the reader to get to know each one and to see inside both their current life and their recall of past events.

Much more than a murder mystery, Somebody’s Crying is a captivating read for older teens.

Somebody’s Crying, by Maureen McCarthy
Allen & Unwin, 2008

Rose by Any Other Name, by Maureen McCarthy

Don’tcha just hate the way you get caught up in stuff without really wanting to? You make a wrong move and before you know it you’re in some weird scene that isn’t you but…how do you get out of it? Maybe you lied, maybe you stole, maybe you betrayed your closest friends. It happens. Yeah. Then it goes a bit further, and suddenly you’re one of those jerks you hate because…you can’t be trusted.

Rose is taking a road trip. Her van is packed, her tank is full and she’s off. There’s only one problem – her mother has decided to come along for the ride. As they take the scenic route to visit Rose’s dying grandmother, they also start to mend some of the damage the past year has done to their relationship.

Rose By Any Other Name is a story of self-discovery and of recovery. Rose’s life has been turned upside down with the sudden break-up of her parents’ marriage and the fracturing of her friendship with her best friend, Zoe. She blames herself for what has happened, and feels that others must blame her too. As she travels the coast line she relives the previous summer and moves towards a new beginning.

From the author of the bestselling Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get a Life, Rose’s story will appeal to teens and adult readers alike.

Rose by Any Other Name

Rose By Any Other Name, by Maureen McCarthy
Allen & Unwin, 2006