|Author:||Damien Broderick & Rory Barnes|
|LibraryThing:||Title:Zones ISBN:0-7322-5760-3 (Add Book)|
Which Australian YA novels have the protagonists going to State schools?
This is simply a good teen-SF novel.
First thing you should to is NOT read the blurb on the back. It's - as is far too often the case - completely misleading. But do read the book.
The protagonist, Jenny, is just an ordinary teenager, in Melbourne, coping as best she can with divorced parents, and life in general. The story opens with her answering the telephone... but it's a very odd telephone call. This guy is asking really strange questions. Too strange for him to be your run-of-the-mill nutter. Jenny hangs up. Later that day, the guy calls again...
I like the way it gradually builds up as to what is happening, how the author doesn't explain it to the reader, we find it out at the same time as Jenny does. I like the snappy dialogue. It's actually worth reading again, to see how it hangs together from the start when you actually do know what is happening, and it still hangs together. I like the characterisation. I like the detailed settings of Melbourne suburbs, just makes me feel at home (sometimes I am sick and tired of the fact that most SF which is set in the current day is all set in a foreign country that I've never been to). And other familiar bits like listening to the Science Show on Saturday afternoons, again made it easy for me to identify with the protagonist.
In short, it works.
Sid & Nancy Scale: a freshly-made Souvlaki
Thoughts on Re-Read (2011-02-16)
I was prompted to re-read this novel when a friend on LJ asked for a list of Australian YA novels where the protagonists went to public school (rather than private school). I thought of this novel, but couldn't remember what school Our Heroine went to, not from the first couple of chapters. But since I'd started re-reading it in order to find the answer, I decided to continue, just for the fun of a re-read. As it happens, Our Heroine does go to a public school (Carlton North).
I enjoyed this novel all over again. I like Jenny and Rod and their sharp conversations, and the way they become friends, and the way Jenny and Tristan become friends. And of course the whole paradoxical SF stuff.
Most of the time I forgot that the story was set in 1995, because the character interaction is timeless. But the mention of a dedicated phone line and modem reminded me that, hey, this story was set fifteen years ago, when such things were needed for an internet connection. That was a bit jolting. I wonder how it would strike a modern teenager if they were to read it - would they be confused, or distainful, or would they even notice? Guess I'll never know.