Title: Have You Seen Ally Queen? by Deb Fitzpatrick
Release Date: September 1st 2011
Published by: Fremantle Press
Source: Publisher (thanks Claire!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
Summary (from Goodreads):
At 15 years old, Ally Queen is uprooted from her comfortable city existence and dumped in a small town. Her mother, witness to a hit-and-run, is suffering from post-traumatic stress, and the quiet country life is supposed to improve her emotional state. Instead, the move just seems to make things worse—for Mom, for Ally, for everyone. Ally misses the way things used to be; she misses playing with her dad and little brother. But she’s a teenager now, and teenage girls don’t go fishing even if they really like it. When Ally meets Rel, she feels like she’s hit rock bottom, but first impressions can be deceptive. As she starts to relax into herself, Ally finds life doesn’t need to be as hard as she makes it.
People react differently to change. Understandably, Ally Queen is one of them. At fifteen, she had left behind all the things she had known, friends, school, home, in exchange for a mundane and boring existence in the countryside. Ally knew she was never quite fit to live life in a quiet, small place, because she was different. Tall, flat as a board and awkward, Ally misses life in the city, on top of her insecurities she struggles to cope with her mother's "sickness" and school wasn't really the best place to be. She had a genius brother with a world of his own and a father who doesn't quite know what to do when their mother suddenly wants to stay away from them
Ally is an interesting teenage girl. It's always nice to dive into a character's heart and soul, taking a peek into her life in her own perspective. There was a lot of negativity in Ally's move to Melros, add to that her being conscious towards her puberty and being a "woman". She never quite understood how her mother's sickness will affect her family. She was confused and hurt that her mother was taking a break from them, her family. What kind of mother does that? Ally felt unloved on top of it all, and it all adds up to the reasons she thinks it's wrong to live there.
High school wasn't much better. She is a smart, witty girl, who doesn't want to be noticed. She must not have realized it but her long walks to the beach and swimming out the sea has helped her change her outlook towards living countryside. And of course, there is Rel. Rel, who stood up for her when the news about her mother's sickness became a reason to mock her. Rel, who was annoying and made her appreciate her life and her family.
It was a bit difficult to understand a few parts since there are a few Australian words I don't know. But it was nice to learn about a few of them. I think 'arvo' is my new favorite word, and it makes me want to eat Killer Pythons. Makes me want to go hiking, to swim, to start fishing, to live in a beach. Makes me want to eat blueberries, hang out in a deli and just stay in the beach, soaking the sun.
Deb Fitzpatrick has a certain eloquence in her writing that endears her and her characters to the readers. Ally certainly is not a perfect teenager, but the realness of her situation and the honesty of her reactions to her problems is what makes her such a great read. One moment I pity her, another getting irritated, but when I finished the book I just loved her. I think Deb's writing is just beautiful. Simple and refined. Serious and sometimes serious. Have You Seen Ally Queen captures the dynamics of a family. turning it into an extraordinary reading journey.
Slowly but surely, Australian authors like Deb makes me realize how much talent there is in Australia, especially when it comes to writing. This is another great example!
Content (plot, story flow, character):
Moving, truthful and a great contemporary read!
Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!
Gorgeous colors, lovely cover!
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.