Everything Beautiful

Not everything is beautiful, and with my recent track record for not enjoying new books, this was a very welcome change and surprise and all that. Simmone Howell’s Everything Beautiful is everything that a book should be. It’s good. Very good. I raced through it.

It’s Australian, and we don’t read enough English language books from that part of the world. Once I got used to the thought that summer is in the winter (I know, but I keep forgetting), the timings of the tale made sense. It’s a story with quite biblical undertones, finishing ‘On the seventh day’.

Riley is that unusual heroine, a fat girl who we don’t need to feel sorry for. She makes friends with wheelchair-bound Dylan, who is not an object of pity, either. It’s the stepmother syndrome again, getting sent to a religious camp, to be out of the way, and to improve. Hah.

Obviously, Riley hates it. She hates very well, but she’s also incredibly resourceful, and a good friend to those who need friendship.

The ‘Aussie-ness’ of the book is not so much scenery or language, as a sense of freedom. British books are actually very sexually censored and careful a lot of the time. This is more Melvin Burgess meets Jacqueline Wilson, if that makes sense. It gets explicit, and we have it all; sex, drugs, drink, smoking. It’s great.

This is Simmone’s second teen novel. I want more.

2 responses to “Everything Beautiful

  1. We love her, too. Simmone is a bright star of Australian YA. Sometimes too strong for more conservative tastes. Pity them.
    Melvin Burgess meets Jacqueline Wilson? That’s not a bad shorthand.

  2. Hi, Mike. I just discovered your comment. I guess WordPress lost it somewhere.

    I’ve received Simmone’s first book, so will read it. Some time in the not too distant future…

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