This story follows Hamish, a self described scrawny farm kid loser who hates farming, during his last year of high school. We journey with Hamish as he discovers his sexuality, self-identity and true friendship. This story is filled with grief, hate, and heartbreaking sadness.
Things I liked:
♥ Going on Hamish’s journey with him. ♥ Hamish’s self confidence and self-worth growing as the story progressed. ♥ Hamish learning how to let people into his heart again. ♥ Hamish figuring out the whole friendship thing and making a lifelong meaningful and healing friend in Annie. ♥ Peter finding comfort, friendship, and someone he could confide in with Hamish.
Things I disliked / made me sad:
I feel Peter should have been able to end up in the flat with Hamish and Annie. He could have done labouring work, while Hamish and Annie attended Uni. The story would have still carried valuable messages, but have left your heart warmed in the end.
I had such friends was a beautiful story and I did really enjoy it, I just feel it doesn’t offer any kind of hope to a person in Peter’s situation. Peter was without a doubt my favourite character in the story. I liked Hamish and Annie. But I loved peter. Even in our much more progressive modern society people in Peter’s situation still do not make it out, that’s why in my mind his character should have.
Who would like this story: Anyone who wants to read something ‘real’ feeling. Anyone into ‘day in the life’ style contemporary reads. #LoveOZYA aficionados. #AusQueerYA aficionados.
Trigger Warnings: child abuse, homophobia, bullying, death and suicide.
I will be keeping an eye out for more books by Meg Gatland-Veness and am keen to read what she writes next.
I Had Such Friends is a YA book but absolutely speaks to older adults too. This book is wonderfully written and very relevant to today's society. It tackles some tough subjects and has very likeable characters that you care about. I would love to read a sequel and see how these tennis life's have evolved.
This book will s set in rural Australia and centres on the life of teenagers who are discovering who they are and where they fit into the world. It starts with the popular boy Charlie being killed in a car accident. Hamish, the second least popular boy in school does think it will affect him but little does he know the chain of events about to happen. Charlie's girlfriend was the popular and prettiest girl at school Annie. Annie starts to notice Hamish. At the sameness time the rebel and outsider boy Peter also befriends him. Charlie is an innocent boy, son of cabbage farmers. His life is finally starting to become more than school and the farm.. but is he ready for it?
This is a very emotional book which deals with a lot of tough subjects... grief, love, sexuality, abuse, bullying and general teenagers growing up.
This YA novel is set in a small town somewhere in rural Australia, where Hamish Day lives with his parents on a struggling cabbage farm. Hamish Day is seventeen years old when Charlie Parker dies. Unlike Hamish, who only has one friend, Charlie was popular. Charlie’s girlfriend, Annie Bower, is the prettiest girl in the school. Hamish and his friend Martin Archer are on the periphery: bullied and ridiculed, surviving. But things change for Hamish after Charlie Parker dies. Peter Bridges, school rebel, becomes friendly with him, as does Annie Bower.
To write more about the plot may reduce the impact of the story on those yet to read it. Be warned, there are a number of confronting issues here, including abuse, grief, suicide, and grappling with sexual identity. The story unfolds in the self-conscious and occasionally awkward voice of Hamish, and it took me a little while to get into the rhythm of the narrative. But the further I read, the more realistic Hamish’s voice became for me. I was returned at times to my own teenage years, to my own recognition of many of these issues. I was reminded of how painful the journey of self-discovery can be, of how our teenaged sense of self is influenced and develops.
Hamish has a lot to learn, and much of that learning will be painful for him. Can we ever make the transition through adolescence to adulthood less fraught, less painful? I found much of this novel sad, but not without hope. I wonder how the young adults reading it feel?
Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Pantera Press for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Pantera Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.* 'I Had Such Friends' is a haunting, sad book, with elements of hope. Ultimately, the book highlights the redemptive power of love. The protagonist is 17-year-old Hamish Day who lives on a failing cabbage farm in a rural seaside town, I believe in NSW, though I don't know if it is every overtly stated. The novel starts with the death of beloved teenager, Charlie Parker, in a road accident. As the town and high school mourn Charlie, Hamish discovers more about himself and the people around him. Hamish's high school years have not been kind to him and, alongside with his sidekick, Martin, he is relentlessly bullied - both physically and verbally. It is a beautiful story, but not without tragedy.