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Growing up during the 1980s in the safe complacency of the Australian suburbs, Plum Coyle should be happy. But on the cusp of her fourteenth birthday - and on the fringe of her peer group - she lives in terror of the disapproval of her cruel and fickle girlfriends, and most of all, she hates her awkward, changing body with a passion. So when Plum's glamorous next-door neighbour Maureen, a young wife and mother, befriends Plum, Plum responds with worshipful fervour. Plum feels herself reinvented. With Maureen, she becomes the girl she's always wanted to be. But Maureen has an ulterior motive for taking Plum under her wing...
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Sonya Hartnett's previous novels have won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. She lives in Melbourne.From School Library Journal:
Gr 5-9–Using her characteristic surprising and spot-on descriptions, Hartnett drops the usual intensity down a notch or two in this tale. While events seem to be taking place in a recent past, Plum is like every teen in her emotional upheavals, her yearning to fit into a group, and her obliviousness to the feelings of those around her. The narrative mostly focuses on Plum herself, her older brothers Justin and Cydar, and their interactions with a neighbor, Maureen, and her young child. Plum, who is young for her almost 14 years, has a collection of mundane objects that she treats as talismans to keep her safe from day-to-day humiliation by her so-called friends, girls who either taunt and tease or ignore her. Maureen, who is in her mid-30s, offers sage advice and support, but readers know that her motivations for helping Plum are questionable. The situation comes to a head at the girl's birthday slumber party. Her parents and brothers truly love her but are incapable of advising her adequately and generally watch her suffering helplessly. The deliberate pacing, insight into teen angst, and masterful word choice make this a captivating read to savor.Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO
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Book Description Hamish Hamilton, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0241144469
Book Description Hamish Hamilton, 2009. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0241144469