Monday, 29 April 2013

Kate McCaffrey's 'Destroying Avalon'

You know what I want you to note first of all about this book?

Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book 2007
Winner West Australian Young Reader’s Book Awards 2007 Avis Page
Winner ‘Writing for Young Adults’ 2006 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards
Highly Commended The Australian Therapists’ Award for Literature 2006

This list should be making you sit up and take notice of this book instantly! Not only is Kate McCaffrey an Australian author (hello Aussies out there!), but her books have depth, strong characterisation and have a literary worth to them that anyone can relate to, particularly teenagers.

This novel tells the story of Avalon Maloney who grew up in a small country town with a good, close friend who had to leave it all behind for her parents to move to Grace Point where everything is much bigger, faster, and a lot less friendly. The problem for Avalon is that though she is brilliant and attractive she is bullied by someone in the school so ferociously through technologies like blogs and even her own mobile phone that it begins to tear her life apart. Avalon can’t trust her parents (parents coming to the school is so not cool, right?) and because she doesn’t know the identity of people bullying her, she doesn’t know who she can trust in school either. The only solid rock she does have are a small group of outsiders (who deal with forms of bullying too): “the Weirdos and Queeros” as coined by Tamara from the group or “the Z group” as coined by Marshall, as she tries to deal with the onslaught of cyber-bullying and figuring out just who is doing all this to her.

The characters in this book have not only strong voices, but they have the language, mannerisms and even the psychological mindsets of teenagers in regards to how they connect with their peers, parents and teachers. The author captures this incredibly well. They are believable, relatable and you just hope that Avalon can make it out alive by the end of the book (you are going to have to read it to find out though). I also really enjoyed the different forms used within the book through mimicking emails and posts. This is a good idea, and it enables readers to break up the ordinary pace of reading.

This is Young Adult fiction however, so anyone used to heavy language, description and multiple subplots and plot twists, won’t find it with this book. Readers will find thematic importance and a connection with the characters though, particularly anyone out there who has or does suffer bullying. And McCaffrey’s other texts won’t disappoint either in this regards as “In Ecstasy” looks at themes of drinking, boys and drug use and “Beautiful Monster” is written about anorexia.

I suggest all of these; and particularly “Destroying Avalon” as a worthy read!


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