PB $19.95 RRP
Reviewed by Nean McKenzie
The Flywheel is the second debut novel to be published by Hardie Grant Egmont through their annual Ampersand Project. (The first was Melissa Keil's award winning Life in Outer Space.) The Flywheel is a young adult novel about a girl called Delilah who runs her father's café while he is away overseas. In doing this, Del juggles school, work and relationships and the story is about how difficult and how funny this all becomes.
Delilah (Del for short) is seventeen and in her last year of school when she encourages her depressed father to take a trip, after Del's mother leaves them. Neither of them know the café manager will leave, that the café down the road will try to put them out of business or that Del will be bullied at school because of her sexual preferences. To further complicate things, Del's crush on Rosa, the flamenco dancer across the road, seems to be unrequited and Del's best friend Charlie gets himself on the wrong side of the law and hides out at Del's place.
Written in first person, Del's story is told with a lot of self deprecating humour, particularly when it comes to dancing. Under the humour, she faces many issues, such as what to do when her best friend asks her to lie for him in a court of law, whether to tell her absent father that his business is going down the drain and how to deal with girls who are not completely comfortable with the fact they like girls. Although she makes a few mistakes along the way, with the help of her friends Del works it all out by the end.
Erin Gough has written a fast-paced novel with lots of realistic dialogue which should appeal to young adult readers. With a very independent and genuine main character, The Flywheel is an enjoyable addition to the Ampersand Project.