Saturday 17 April 2021

Can’t Say it Went to Plan

Can’t Say it Went to Plan by Gabrielle Tozer (Harper Collins) ISBN 9781460758533 PB RRP $19.99 (PB)

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

This young adult book starts at the very beginning of a holiday for three girls who have just finished school forever. Dahlia, Zoe and Samira don’t know one another but are headed to the schoolies at the same beach with their separate groups of friends. The girl’s stories, interspersed with one another, are quite different but all share one thing: everything is about to change. Can’t Say it Went to Plan is about getting to know yourself and finding out unexpected things.

Zoe has disobeyed her parents who have forbidden her to go away with her friends. Dahlia is unwillingly going on a holiday organised by her best friend, who died of cancer. Samira’s boyfriend breaks up with her and all the many plans she has made go up in smoke. Not one of these situations seem like a good start to a relaxing break, but they all turn out to be a catalyst for worthwhile changes in these girls’ lives -- once a few dramas have happened, of course, as well as a lot of fun at schoolies.

It’s a skill as a writer to swap between characters’ heads and it is done very successfully in this story. The three female characters are quite distinct and even though there are a lot of characters in the three groups of friends, it is usually clear who everyone is. There is a natural sort of diversity of characters from different backgrounds, racial, socioeconomic, and sexual orientation. The dialogue flows easily and reads as authentic for this age group.

Gabrielle Tozer is also author of the young adult books The Intern, Faking It and Remind Me How this Ends. Teenagers should find her newest book a page -turning read about a pivotal time in life. 





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