Clancy of the Undertow - Christopher Currie

We’re sitting there with matching milkshakes, Sasha and me, and somehow, things aren’t going like I always thought they would. We’re face to face under 24-hour fluorescents with the thoroughly unromantic buzz of aircon in our ears and endless flabby wedges of seated trucker’s arsecrack as our only visual stimulus.

In a dead-end town like Barwen a girl has only got to be a little different to feel like a freak. And Clancy, a typical sixteen-year-old misfit with a moderately dysfunctional family, a genuine interest in Nature Club and a major crush on the local hot girl, is packing a capital F.

As the summer begins, Clancy’s dad is involved in a road smash that kills two local teenagers. While the family is dealing with the reaction of a hostile town, Clancy meets someone who could possibly—at last—become a friend. Not only that, the unattainable Sasha starts to show what may be a romantic interest.


Currie's novel is a good one. It's solid, has strong characters, and contains realistic relationships between Clancy and her friends, her brothers, and her parents. There's a lot of subtlety in the ways that her family members interact with each other--sniping between siblings, angsty behaviour, and overreacting parents. It's all there. It is not a fast-paced novel by any means, but it's a good story overall. I did find myself losing interest a bit in the mid-way point, however.

Clancy is mostly comfortable with her sexuality, though her peers and the more conservative members of her smaller town are not. She and her family experience isolation and are the brunt of much gossip. As I said, the story isn't action packed, but in terms of character development, it's spot on. In fact, one particular reviewer (Diva Booknerd) says it most impressively:
Christopher Currie has captured the spirit of an Australian teen struggling to find her feet within judgmental, small town prejudice. Anyone having grown up in Australia will see themselves within Clancy's plight. She's relatable, likable and an incredible young woman who lends her voice to the underdog of our nation. Or in Aussie slang... She's fucking unreal mate.
This is a good book, and one I would recommend, especially since it's focusing on an Australian protagonist and setting, rather than the all too usual North American setting. Check it out if you like a strong character-driven story with solid LGBT content.

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