Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Friday Brown by Vicki Wakefield

‘I am Friday Brown. I buried my mother. My grandfather buried a swimming pool. A boy who can’t speak has adopted me. A girl kissed me. I broke and entered. Now I’m fantasising about a guy who’s a victim of crime and I am the criminal. I’m going nowhere and every minute I’m not moving, I’m being tail-gated by a curse that may or may not be real. They call me Friday. It has been foretold that on a Saturday I will drown…’

Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run—running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who’d like her to stay. She’s lost, alone and afraid.

Silence, a street kid, finds Friday and she joins him in a gang led by beautiful, charismatic Arden. When Silence is involved in a crime, the gang escapes to a ghost town in the outback. In Murungal Creek, the town of never leaving, Friday must face the ghosts of her past. She will learn that sometimes you have to stay to finish what you started—and often, before you can find out who you are, you have to become someone you were never meant to be.

Friday Brown is the breathtaking second novel from the author of the award-winning All I Ever Wanted.

Last year I nominated Vicki Wakefield's Aussie YA debut All I Ever Wanted as my favourite book of 2011. She has followed up her debut with the same kind of brilliance that, despite all the warnings of emotional napalm, I was not quite prepared for. 

Friday Brown is such a gorgeous and heartbreaking reading experience. Vicki Wakefield writes in this sublime way ~ her stories have this almost fairytale, other-worldly quality while at the same time feeling so emotionally real and resonant that it aches like the truth. This story is vivid: sorrowful yet full of love, surreal yet devastatingly believable. 

There's this gorgeous blend of adventure and tension. While friendships are being forged and the plot sails ahead into the unknown, there's an undercurrent of danger - just enough to create a pool of dread right in the pit of my stomach. Guys, it was only a solid month after finishing this read that I was able to come to terms with it all and conclude that, simply, this sophomore novel is amazing. 

Wakefield possess the magic combo: prose to die for, sneaky, smiley humour, characters that come to life and work their way into your heart, and a power-packed climax that leaves you breathless a la Jellicoe Road. In some ways, this book reminds me a smidgen of Jellicoe Road - in the way that sometimes it seems like too much ~ the character's backgrounds, heartache and sorrow upon sorrow mingled with the perfect carving of relationships but like JellicoeFriday Brown pulls everything off and more. These characters and this story is brilliant and lingering and will hold fast. 

I especially loved all of Fridays' stories passed down from her mum. Ethereal and beautiful and clever and special, all truth mingled with fantasy and hope mingled with regret. Just gorgeous. 

I cannot not mention what I truly love about Vicki Wakefield's work: her characters are such brilliant teenagers. She never belittles them, instead gives so much life and energy, it rings with the truth. I think the ultimate YA authors are the ones who believe in just how awesome teenagers are, showcasing their resilience and life and ability to have fun and live in a world not dulled by adult sensibilities. 

Vicki Wakefield is an extraordinary talent who would shine in whichever genre she would choose to write in. I am cheering for Aussie teens who can experience books such as this: utterly compelling and life-changing stuff. 

If you're into Aussie YA, Vicki Wakefield should be at the top of your list to check out. Two books out and she is right up there with the cool kids at the top. 

I truly loved this book (even as it ripped me to shreds and patched me up again) and I am thrilled to recommend it to you all and cannot wait to see what you think :)

Thanks ever so much to Text Publishing for my review copy

Friday Brown @ goodreads
Friday Brown @ Text Publishing
Read an excerpt


8 comments:

  1. Wow, this sounds amazing and very emotional. I haven't read anything by Wakefield but I'm eager to, especially since she's Aussie and we all know how amazing Aussie YA is! Whether it be her debut or Friday Brown, hopefully I get round to reading something by this author sooner rather than later.

    Lovely review, Nomes! It's always a pleasure to hear your thoughts on books ♥

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  2. You use all those magical words like sorrowful, resonant and believable and expect me to resist? I think not! And I've been doing such an amazing job in staying far, far away from this book. It smells of heartbreak! But then you show up and make it sound exactly like a Maja book.
    *sigh* I'll read No and Me first because both Catie and you liked it, and I'll read this right after.
    I missed your reviews so much, Nomes.

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  3. Vikki's book All I Ever Wanted has been on my wishlist for yonks! And now she's come out with another beauty already? You have me super excited about picking up both of these books Nomes, especially if this reminded you of Jellicoe Road! A beautiful review Nomes! I honestly can't wait to get my hands on her books! :)

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  4. I am so happy you finally posted your review of this. I have it sitting on my shelf from Maggie/Noelle. When I hear that an Aussie contemporary has this kind of emotional impact, I kind of hoard it. I am almost 100% positive that I am going to love this to death.

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  5. How did I miss this review? Gorgeous, Nomes! Both of Vikki's books are one-sitting books. I love that she never dumbs it down for the reader. Can't wait to see what she writes next.

    x Maggie

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  6. I've heard so many things about this one. You had me at the Jellicoe road comparison :)

    Great review!

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  7. I loved this book too. Wakefield is a real find - makes me proud to be Australian!
    Here's my review
    Brona's Books

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  8. I read All I've Ever Wanted this year and that book neutered my soul a bit, in a very good way. Very much looking forward to reading Friday Brown, especially after your review!

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Thanks for the commenty love :)

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