Walker Books Australia (2013)
Age: upper primary – secondary
Reviewed by Peta Harrison
Freia and her friends have a long list of exciting things they intend to do over the summer holidays. That is, until life steps in and hands them a few unpleasant surprises. Freia has new boyfriend and plans to spend much of the holiday with him, until disaster strikes. Her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer and all plans get put on hold.
The novel traces the few weeks around the operation and after as the family come together to support each other and Mum. Because Freia is not one to share with others, misunderstandings happen with her friends and tensions rise. It is only later that she comes to realise that part of the misunderstandings arise from the fact that her friends are also experiencing nasty surprises.
I really enjoyed this coming of age novel – not something that happens often – because the characters are realistic and respond truthfully to situations as they arise. The plot doesn’t become a soap opera but neither are the characters wooden.