Girl Defective

They’re refreshingly different in Australia. Simmone Howell’s third teen novel Girl Defective is quite possibly her best. So far. (Although that’s got nothing to do with its Aussie-ness.) At times I almost had to restrain myself from wanting a glossary, but not understanding some words adds a certain sense of exoticism.

So does permitting stuff that we rarely – if ever – get in British YA novels. They are freer with sex and booze, and that’s pretty refreshing.

Simmone Howell, Girl Defective

Girl Defective is actually a Christmas book, too, as long as you can get your head round hot summers and Christmas holidays. It is also a rather wonderful aspie novel, with 10-year-old Gully who wears a pig-snout at all times and who goes round acting as if he is a detective. His sister Sky and their father Bill, who is a bit of a dinosaur running a struggling shop selling second hand vinyl records and drinking too much beer, both work hard at keeping Gully calm and away from trouble.

Sky isn’t your average – almost – 16-year-old, either. She has only one friend, the older and rather promiscuous Nancy. Stuff is happening in St Kilda, where they live. A girl has been found dead, and there is a spate of minor crime which affects them, and that Gully tries to solve.

This is a book about finding yourself, about finding love and making friends. Real friends. People you can trust.

There is something about the way Simmone writes. You feel that you’re in good hands. You’re safe, while she is doing ‘a Nancy,’ introducing you to new and worrying concepts in order to find out who you really are.

It’s a fantastic book, and I would like to see it published in more places. Now. I wish every English language novel could just go anywhere once it’s out. After all, I think I worked out what an op shop is, and I don’t absolutely have to understand all the Aussie-isms. They add local colour.

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4 responses to “Girl Defective

  1. I was so enthused by your post about this book I immediately looked it up on my UK kindle even though I must have seven books on the go at the moment. (I also thought the very excellent dictionary of the Kindle would help with vocabulary). But it’s not available in the UK. Boo. I guess I’d better be patient then.

  2. But there are two Simone Howell books in the Kindle Store: Everything Beautiful and Notes from a Teenage Underground. Which one should I download first?

  3. Woops it’s SiMMone Howell. Very conscious that you just blogged about spelling names, Laura dear.

  4. Yes, I believe Simmone felt two m’s would be more exciting.
    Download both? I read the second one first (Everything Beautiful), which was fine and since they are not connected at all, it probably dosn’t matter.
    https://bookwitch.wordpress.com/2009/01/27/everything-beautiful/
    or
    https://bookwitch.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/notes-from-the-teenage-underground/

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