Monday 16 August 2010

Beyond Evie

Beyond Evie by Rebecca Burton (HarperCollins)
PB RRP $17.99
ISBN 9780732291525
Reviewed by Tracey Slater

This is Rebecca Burton’s second YA novel. She is a Varuna and CBC Award winner.

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte is living under the shadow of her father’s suicide. Her mother is emotionally distant. Her older sister is happily in love. Charlotte longs for someone to cure her feelings of loneliness.

She meets the artistic, charmingly manipulative and worldlier Evie. Charlotte falls in love with her, only to have her heart broken by someone who is only playing an emotional and sexual game. The story is in the form of a cathartic letter from Charlotte to Evie.

Although this book features a same-sex love relationship, the feelings around the heartbreak involved when first love turns bad is universal. The author captures these emotions well—Charlotte’s pain and angst are tangible.

It’s a fairly bleak tale but Charlotte is a resilient character and the story concludes in an atmosphere of hope. The story itself is quiet and the pace is slow. However, the strength of this book is the quality of the writing. ‘Beyond Evie’ is crafted with restraint and economy - the author packing much meaning in few words. It is heavily stylised, yet reads naturally. The story also has a slightly psychologically disturbing undertone.

Young adults who like a pacy read will probably not enjoy this book. However, those who enjoy rich, literary, thoughtful prose will have a guaranteed reward from choosing Beyond Evie.

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