Saturday 8 June 2024

Sunshine on Vinegar Street

Sunshine on Vinegar Street by Karen Comer, Allen & Unwin Childrens (AU) PB RRP $17.99 ISBN 9781761180132

Reviewed by Sarah Tegerdine

Sunshine on Vinegar Street is the latest verse novel from Karen Comer.

Freya’s entire world is turned on its head in a flash when she and her Mum relocate to Abbotford, an inner-city suburb of Melbourne. Basketball is Freya’s life and heart and being the new girl at school is proving more difficult than expected. Constantly feeling on the outside, she decides to pour everything she has into taking out the best spots in her school’s representative basketball team. However, it is tricky: some of her teammates are not exactly welcoming and contribute to her on going anguish as she tries to fit in.

Freya often reflects on how life was before the move, having both parents close by her basketball team and best friends. The big question in front of Freya is, will she find her place in Abbotsford? Or will she remain perpetually stuck like Audrey, in the town’s symbolic Skipping girl sign.

First and foremost, Sunshine on Vinegar Street addresses change and everything that comes with it. Themes around different family structures, facing, and overcoming fears, bullying, and making new friends also feature strongly. As a verse novel, it is swift and engaging. With its bite-sized scenes and easy to read chapters, I believe it would also be of particular interest to reluctant readers.

Sunshine on Vinegar Street is thoughtful and heart-warming. Its relatability and humour will entertain readers of all ages.




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