The moment I set foot on the stage I know this is a big mistake. When I open my mouth and force out the opening line of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, I realised it’s more than that.
My mouth is so dry that my tongue feels like sandpaper whenever it meets my upper palate and, as if by some sort of malicious inverse reaction, my palms and armpits are sweating like crazy. I’m tempted to run out of the hall before I humiliate myself any further, but I don’t think I’d make it without Kate crash-tackling me and dragging me back onto the stage. To make matters worse, she’s waving from the front row to attract my attention, the corners of her mouth pulled into a gruesome smile, like a deranged mother at a beauty pageant. How did I let her talk me into this?
Freia is in Year 10 and everything is changing and not in a good way. Her friend Kate has hooked up with the ‘Bs’, Belinda, Bethanee and Briana, but for Freia, it’s an uneasy time. She doesn’t want to lose Kate, but she is less than convinced that she wants to be friends with these girls. Kate convinces her to audition for the school play so they can all be together, and they can meet boys. Freia fails to gain a part but is given a role in lighting. There she meets the mysterious Daniel, known as ‘Skeletor’. Rumours abound about Daniel and Freia finds that associating with him, even at the lighting desk is enough to further damage her social status. Not that she feels has any status. And with parents determined to imprison her at home and embarrass her in public, Freia is sure she’ll never fit in anywhere.
Friendship is at the heart of Finding Freia Lockhart: How Not to be a Successful Teen. There’s Freia’s changing friendship with Kate who really wants to be best friends with a new group of girls, there’s fledgling friendships with Siouxsie and others, and then’s the possibility of friendship – or more – with Daniel. Her parents are keen to be the best parents they can be and for her mother that means reading every book ever written on the subject of teenagers. The harder she tries, the less understood Freia feels. At home she’s grumpy and uncommunicative. At school she’s confused and drowning in a sea of lip gloss and short skirts. ‘Finding Freia Lockhart’ is told in first person and is a story of finding yourself, of deciding who you are and where you want to be.
Recommended for early- and mid-secondary readers.
Finding Freia Lockhart: How Not to be a Successful Teen, Aimee Said
Walker Books 2010
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
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