Sunday 29 July 2012

Jac of Hearts

Jac of Hearts Jac of Hearts  by Jenny Mahoney (Even Before Publishing)
PB RRP $14.95
ISBN 978-1-922074-13-3
Reviewed by Jacque Duffy

With my teen years forever behind me, I am not a target reader for this book. In fact, when I first picked it up, I groaned inwardly. Not only is it aimed at teens but it has a religious flavour too. I took a deep breath, and started reading. I soon discovered I couldn't put it down.

I did have to push past a slightly awkward start, but then the story enveloped me like a warm shawl on a chilly evening. I read late into the night, turning pages in a way that would have gratified the author. As I mentioned, I am not this author's target audience but her writing transported me in a way few books have. And I read a lot of books. If my experience is anything to go by, preference has little to do with captivating a reader.

This is author Jenny Mahoney’s first young adult novel and with it being this good, I can't wait to read her next installments, she has a fan in me. Jenny has written a beautiful story of love, betrayal, strength and conviction of self. Jac, the main character wakes in a hospital bed after a car accident from which she is left an orphan. An estranged aunt and step cousin deliver her to her new home where she discovers that her spikey personality and attitude are no barriers to the friendship on offer.

The book, if read in a classroom situation, would raise healthy discussion. I found it refreshing: the serious matters of sex, drugs and death are raised in this story and handled in a modern yet sensitive way without being condescending or preachy. The characters are fully formed and each have their own story to tell.

The story gives room for sequels and I am sure each would be an enjoyable read.
Jacque Duffy is the author and illustrator of the series ‘That’s not a …” learn to read books used in all Queensland State Primary Schools and one local history coffee table book.

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