I'll Tell You Mine by Pip Harry
Published March 2012 UQP
From the publisher
"Here’s the thing. I’ve been kicked out of home. After the last thing I did I ran out of chances. Tipped all my parents’ patience out on the floor like the last bit of milk in the container. They just lost it. Fair enough, I suppose. I did do something pretty bad. So bad I can’t even say it out loud. Neither can Mum. We both just: Don’t. Talk. About. It."
Kate has been sent to Boarding School. She is in Year 10 and is usually a day student at Norris Grammar, but after the terrible thing that she did her Mother doesn't want her at home, they all need a break from each other. Kate found school difficult enough when she was there during school hours, but to be there 24 hours a day surrounded by girls who think she is a freak is more than she can handle.
The thing about boarding school is that you are forced to live in close proximity to people you would never choose to be friends with. While this, for the most part is extremely annoying and difficult, like Kate finds out, you may actually find yourself becoming friends with these very same people. Kate befriends Maddy, who is not a goth, comes from a farm, listens to crappy music, about a million miles away from her usual friends, but they become friends none the less. Maddy is the only thing thing that makes Kate's life at school bearable.
Kate may be a goth girl but she is, in most ways, a typical teenage girl. She's in love with a boy who doesn't like her 'that way', she lies to her parents, she feels uncomfortable in her own skin, she just wants to be herself, but 'herself' isn't the perfect politicians daughter her Mother wants her to be. Reading this book gave me the feeling that you get when you fight so much with someone and back yourself so far into a corner that you can't figure out how to get out. Someone has to make the first move to make things right, but that feels impossible to do. In Kate's case she runs.
Kate runs to Maddy, to the farm, and here she gets the opportunity to get some perspective and as an added bonus she gets closer to Maddy's brother Lachy. Nothing like a cute boy, a good friend and country air to mend your heart and soul.
This book, to me, feels like an honest look at what it's like to be a teenage girl. It feels familiar to me (and admittedly my teenage years were years ago), and I don't think the fundamentals have probably changed that much. It's a book about Mothers and daughters, Fathers and Daughters, family, friendship, teenage girls and their bitchiness, the struggle to be accepted for who you are and to accept others for who they are, school, exams, first crushes and first love. Being a teenager is hard, and this book shows that through a good story with a lot of heart.
Read it if you like: Realistic teenage fiction