I wish I could laugh too but I can’t because I’m supposed to be the serious one. the one who toes the line and never takes risks; who wears her school dress below the knees and keeps a Bible in the drawer next other bed. Ma raised me that way.
May Callaghan has been raised to be a good girl. Her mother is a devout Catholic, and she thinks May will do the right thing; say her prayers, live devoutly, then marry well. But seventeen year old May has a secret boyfriend. Sam is a star footballer, and the way he makes May feel leaves her questioning what her mother has taught her. Fed up life in her small town, may lies to her parents and sneaks to Melbourne to visit Sam. there her eyes are opened to a whole other world: including a liberal thinking shared household heavily immersed in the anti-war movement.
With her parents struggling through problems of their own, and Sam called up for service in Vietnam, May finds herself very alone facing the biggest challenge of her life.
Set in the midst of the Vietnam War, Hello, Goodbye is a moving coming of age story. Whilst May’s relationship with Sam, and her journey through an unplanned pregnancy, are central to the story, subplots involving issues of the impact of war, conscription, family relationships, women’s rights and more are skilfully entwined.
A powerful, emotional read.
Hello, Goodbye, by Emily Brewin
Allen & Unwin, 2017
She blows a kiss, then the screen goes blank. And, suddenly, I’m back to being alone with my thoughts.
As much as I’m happy for her, it’s really hard seeing her life unfold while mine stays still.
I only have to wait a year. As soon as this year is over, I’ll be able to get out. Out of my school, out of my home, out into the real world, and on to the rest of my life.
Gillian is the only one who actually wants to be on the yearbook committee. With her best friend gone, her Dad’s political career seeming more important than his daughter, and the unwanted attention of bully it-girl Lauren, being on the committee could be the only good thing happening in her life. The other members aren’t so sure. Matty’s a loner with a terrible home-life, Ryan is the school captain but his imagined future as a soccer star has been wrecked by an accident, Tammi’s only there because Lauren wants her to spy, and Charlie is new to the school and wants to be back in Melbourne, where she belongs. They are five very different people, but it’s their job to catalogue one final year.
The Yearbook Committee is a multi-voice novel which follows these five unlikely partners as they traverse a difficult year both in and out of school. Their enforced time together results in new friendships as well as new challenges as members of the group face a range of problems including cyberbullying, parental expectations, a mother with crippling depression, shattered dreams and much more.
While the use of five first person viewpoint characters means it takes a little while to get to know who’s who, but each voice is distinct and as the story progresses the reader is taken inside each teen’s life, and, by novel’s end will really care what happens, and to whom.
A gripping read.
The Yearbook Committee, by Sarah Ayoub
Harper Collins, 2016