Suitable for teens 15+, this is the coming-of-age story of Lucy Taylor – a 16 year old whose world is turned upside down when her brother drowns in a surfing accident.
16 year old Lucy Taylor is a girl who lives by the rules – a champion backstroker living in a small, coastal town on the New South Wales north coast. Swimming is her life and her love. But when her 18 year old brother, Cam, drowns on a surfing trip, Lucy’s life begins to spiral out of control.
My brother has an end point. No matter how bad I crave those last few weeks with him back, and to know they would be his last, to somehow reach out and stop him, time will keep taking me further away.
Now, the mere thought of swimming is causing Lucy to have panic attacks. The pool is no longer a refuge, and life at home is no easier. Her mother is barely able to function, while her dad bottles up his feelings by throwing himself into work and ignoring his own, and his family’s suffering.
Then, there is the mystery of the anonymous texts that keep appearing on Cam’s phone that suggest her brother was harbouring some secrets of his own.
As Lucy battles to discover the identity of the mystery texter, she must also deal with conflicting feelings for her brother’s best friend, Ryan, and music-loving, Evan, the intriguing new boy at school.
When I think back to the books I read as a teenager, I remember Trixie Belden, Anne of Green Gables, the Judy Blume cannon, and Lorna Hill’s Sadler’s Wells series.
What I don’t remember is reading much Australian young adult fiction. There was John Marsden’s So Much To Tell You, which was striking for the fact that it was written in a teenage, Australian voice. A voice I could relate to.
It is in this tradition that Trinity Doyle has written Pieces of Sky – a novel that beautifully captures the euphoria, the confusion, the fear and the challenge of being a teenager.
From the opening lines, I was hooked.
Mum painted my brother’s coffin. It was beautiful, if such a thing can be- the waves of the ocean, gradients of green to blue mixed with the white of sea foam.
There is just something really heartbreakingly beautiful about that image, isn’t there?
And it’s a fantastic introduction to Lucy’s voice, which is basically the key to the success of this book.
The story is told entirely from her point of view – the reader is exposed to no other, which can be a limitation in the hands of less capable authors. Fortunately, Trinity Doyle totally succeeds in creating a character that is entirely believable. She makes this all-consuming voice into a comfortable place to be.
As a narrator, Lucy is authentic and unaffected. She is tough but tender, strong yet vulnerable. She is contradictory in a way that only teenagers know how to be. She is the skating, surfing, swimming tom-boy who goes weak at the knees when a boy kisses her.
Trinity Doyle has created a complex and believable character to which many teens will relate – a girl who is navigating the rocky territory of teenage-hood, and getting it sometimes right and sometimes wrong along the way. Like we all did when we were that age..
Trinity Doyle writes realistic young adult fiction. She grew up in the suburbs of Lake Macquarie and could be found reading at all times – except when she was watching TV, getting her hands black with charcoal or making mixtapes from the radio.
Trinity lives in Newcastle NSW, with her husband, daughter and cat. The Australian Society of Authors called her work ‘edgy [and] convincing’ and she thinks that’s pretty neat. Pieces of Sky is her first novel.
For more information about Pieces of Sky, visit Allen & Unwin