Gap, by Rebecca Jessen

Looking on the streets

for the hangers-on

never know

who’s lurking round these parts

seen me leave his house

round the back

pale and sweaty

what have I done?

Ana is not a murderer, but she has killed a man. When you are young, trying desperately to survive and to protect your little sister, you will do almost anything. Now, though, the police are onto her, and her conscience is giving her no rest. As she tries desperately to see a way out of this mess for herself and for her sister, Indie, she finds an unlikely ally. Sawyer is a police officer, but Ana knew her before she was a cop, and reconnecting now forces Ana to confront her past, at the same time as she must confront her present. Perhaps she should just run from it all.

Gap is a gritty novel in verse for young adult and adult readers, set on the streets of Brisbane. Ana is a survivor, tough, independent and caring, but some things are to hard even for the toughest of teens. The use of the verse form gives us snapshots of moments of dark and light, reminiscent of film and,while the viewpoint character is the supposed criminal, there is still a sense that this a kind of detective novel, as readers are invited to piece together what has brought Ana to this point, and what the solution might be.

Winner of the Emerging Author category of the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards, Gap is a brilliant verse novel, honest and compelling.


Gap, by Rebecca Jessen
UQP, 2014
ISBN 9780702253201

Available from good bookstores and online.