Author: Emily O’Beirne
Publisher: Ylva Publishing
Publication Date: 19th October 2016
Rating: 4/5. Stars
Diversity: LGBT Characters
Summary: It’s only for a year. That’s what sixteen-year-old Zel keeps telling herself after moving to Sydney for her dad’s work. She’ll just wait it out until she gets back to New York and Prim, her epic crush/best friend, and the unfinished subway project. Even if Prim hasn’t spoken to her since that day on Coney Island.
But Zel soon finds life in Sydney won’t let her hide. There’s her art teacher, who keeps forcing her to dig deeper. There’s the band of sweet, strange misfits her cousin has forced her to join for a Drama project. And then there’s the curiosity that is the always-late Stella.
As she waits for Prim to explain her radio silence and she begins to forge new friendships, Zel feels strung between two worlds. Finally, she must figure out how to move on while leaving no one behind.
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Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Sixteen-year-old Zel (short for Zelda, and no she’s not named after the video game, but after Zelda Fitzgerald) has just moved once again, this time to Sydney, leaving her life behind her. Despite her cousin immediately introducing her to his Drama Group, she still struggles to really connect with any of them. She is very much caught up in her past and she misses New York and Prim, her best friend and crush. However their parting was pretty difficult and now Prim refuses to talk to her.
Parts of the story are told trough Past Tense flash-backs which are wonderfully woven in with the story in the present. Often Zel remembers these moments while she’s choosing which pictures she wants to use for her Art Project. Then there’s also the aloof dancer Stella, who intrigues her more and more while she gets to know her better during their shared Drama Project.
The character’s are incredibly great and I really loved them. Emily O’Beirne writes very consistent and real characters. Zel is rather level-headed for a teenager, despite all the turmoil she is going trough and at times feels much older than she is, but it somehow fits her. She enjoys photography, but she is rather shy and uncomfortable when performing in front of large groups. She also has a great relationship with her parents and faces no difficulties for being a lesbian (except for figuring out which girls will return her crushes everything is going smoothly for her) which was really nice to read. Prim is a soon-to-be model, who hates most people, except her brothers, her cat and Zel. She is very closed off, but despite her difficult character Zelda can’t help but fall for her. Then there’s also awesome side characters, like Antony, Zel’s cousin, who despite not fitting in the stereotype is amazing in drama, or the mysterious Stella, who often comes to late. She is definitely another one of my favorite characters, her background story is quite interesting and behind her aloofness she hides a incredibly caring soul.
I definitely enjoyed this book. As I said the characters are consistent and amazing, the story line is interesting and I liked reading about Zelda trying to figure out what she wanted to do after moving halfway around the world (again). I loved the idea they had for the Drama Project, trying to figure out what home means to people and the social aspect of the refugee crises that was woven into it. I also liked how it related to Zelda and her recent move.
I also adored the descriptions of the places, both of New York and Australia, it was wonderfully fleshed out and it felt very real. What I didn’t quite like was the fact that Zelda sometimes directly talked to the reader, which kind off threw me out of the story.
But otherwise the story absolutely sucked me in and if I had had the time I would have finished it in one setting (instead it was stretched out to two). It is definitely an incredible sweet coming-of-age story and if you like reading such things, this is definitely a book for you.