Wednesday 5 September 2018

Inside the Tiger

Inside the Tiger by Hayley Lawrence (Penguin Random Australia) PB RRP  $19.99  ISBN 9780143788959

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Bel Anderson is the daughter of a politician who is living in a boarding school when a Legal Studies assignment sees her writing to Micah, a 19-year-old on Death Row in Thailand. Of course, Micah responds and thus sets a train of communications between the two which results in Bel flying to Thailand to visit her pen-pal, notwithstanding the fact she does not know why he is incarcerated. Meeting him, Bel falls for him which eventually results in her destroying them both.

Lawrence says her own experience writing to and visiting a death row prisoner in Thailand was the inspiration for this story. A captivating and raw read, this is a story of hope, determination and personal sacrifice and deals with many issues which have not been addressed in YA novels before, such as Death Row, conditions in prison and the murder of Bel’s mother. It is likely to appeal to teenagers (and shock) with a romanticised view of prison life and life between an inmate and a visitor.

This debut novel about love, life and the redemptive power of love was shortlisted for the Vogel Award in 2017 and won a Litlink Residency in 2016 and a PIP Fellowship in 2017 at Varuna, the Writers' Hayley Lawrence (Penguin Random Australia) PB RRP  $19.99  ISBN 9780143788959

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