It’s hard to explain my reaction to this book. In effect, it’s no different from many YA stories – Alba, small town girl, finished Yr 12, the future stretches out with many possibilities and yet she is paralysed by uncertainty and fear.
Its the writing that makes it different. Makes it more. I felt uncomfortable reading it because Alba is uncomfortable. She no longer fits her skin, and yet, she’s not sure what’s happened and she’s in denial about everything.
The portrayal of the small rural Australian town is spot on. The feeling that everyone knows each other’s business and the annoyance of that but also the safety and the stability of that. The secondary characters – Alba’s mum, her high school friends and people around the town are described in rounded and realistic ways, and they are all great.
I haven’t mentioned Grady or Daniel. Two boys. Alba’s boys. One who has been with her throughout her entire life, and one who was dragged off when they were aged 10. When Daniel returns (and why he comes back is a whole other issue!) Alba has to confront a lot of stuff including the death of her father and what to do now school is done.
I rushed through this. But I loved it. I smirked and snorted, because seriously, the whole sub-plot involving the end of the world is hilarious and really well written.
Alba is a feisty girl, and even though she needs to make a few decisions, she doesn’t swoon or whine, although admittedly she does wallow… But that’s allowed, right?
Really strong follow-up to Life in Outer Space.