Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Dress Rehearsal

Dress Rehearsal by Zoe Thurner (Fremantle Press)
PB RRP $19.95
ISBN 9-781-921-696-671
Reviewed by Neridah McMullin

Dress Rehearsal is a fast moving, tumultuous and lively read for Young Adult fiction readers.

Lara is our protagonist and at first she’s seems to be the anti-hero. She is obviously smart and strong willed, but initially seems to lack substance and her social motives seem contrite. But this is not the case at all. Lara is honest and true to herself. She is very funny and self-effacing, I found myself laughing out a loud a couple of times with some of the things she says. I have teenagers and I can see exactly where Lara is at. Zoe has captured this so clearly and I’m sure this will be accessible and engaging to teenage readers.

Lara is self conscious and confused. She questions everything around her and I think she’s very brave despite the fact she feels in limbo with herself, her mum and dad, her friends and in fact, the entire universe. It’s a turbulent and confronting story but its not teenage angst; it is an emotionally intelligent story.

Zoe Thurner’s narrative voice is strong and clear and she does an extremely effective job in showing how Lara feels how and why she feels the way she does. She expresses this in language typical of this age group and as the story evolves, you can feel Lara and her friends growing up. You can feel the ‘clarification’.

Lara is in love and this comes with its own set of complications and consequences but it’s not ‘corny’ or ‘mushy’. It’s resolves itself naturally, almost in a typically stoic and ‘Australian’ way. But it’s refreshing and uplifting as well.

This story is written in a distinctive and engaging style and is to be thoroughly recommended to Young Adult readers. This Zoe Thurner’s first novel and I can’t wait to read her next book!

Neridah McMullin is the author of two books for children. Her next book is an 'aussie rules' story called 'Kick it to me!' that's being endorsed by the Australian Football League. Neridah loves family, footy, and doing yoga with her cat Carlos (who also loves footy) www.neridahmcmullin.com

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