- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Pantera Press (1 August 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1925700011
- ISBN-13: 978-1925700015
- Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.1 x 20.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 281 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
I Had Such Friends Paperback – 1 Aug 2017
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About the Author
Meg Gatland-Veness is a powerful emerging voice for young Australians. Born in a tiny, country town called Milton, she grew up on the Central Coast before going to the University of Newcastle to study a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English and Drama, as well as a Bachelor of Secondary Teaching.
Writing stories for as long as she can remember and reading them for even longer, Meg always carries a notebook with her in case inspiration strikes or she encounters a beautiful new word. Equally heartfelt is her passion for championing local youths and promoting important conversations about themes like love, sexuality, bullying, suicide, grief and trauma.
Inspired not only by her career as a high school teacher in both Australia and London, but also her own personal school experiences, Meg wrote I Had Such Friends, a poignant and important YA debut about self-discovery, grief and the tragic power of silence in rural Australia. Her writing urges readers to notice the gaps in another's words and question the parts we play in somebody else's story.
Meg is a high school Drama teacher living on the Central Coast of New South Wales. Other than writing novels, she channels her unending creativity into choreographing and directing musicals, writing poetry, singing and ballet, as well as playing tennis, volleyball and soccer.
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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.
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.
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.
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.