Summertime, St. Kilda, Australia. The long, languid days of Christmas holiday break stretch before 15 year old Sky Martin. She and her family, she says, are “like inverse superheroes, marked by our defects. Dad was addicted to beer and bootlegs. Gully [her younger brother] had ‘social difficulties’ … I was surface clean, but underneath a weird hormonal stew was simmering. My defects weren’t the kind you see just from looking.” (2) Into lives of the Martin family that summer come 19 year old enigmatic Nancy, who challenges, thrills, taunts, and awakes something in Sky she didn’t know was there and tragic, broken, and oh-so-hot Luke, who is search for answers to the mystery of his dead sister.
The Wishing Well, the Martin family’s vintage record shop, is the dusty hub around which Sky’s life revolves. Her father is trapped in a past that no longer exists and where the future, if acknowledged in any way, looks bleak. Sky’s flighty, artistic mother abandoned the family years ago and her memory and the pain her departure caused still smolder in every corner of their lives. Sky doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere – no real friends to speak of, no ambition, no idea where she wants to go, what she wants to be, or even what, if any, future lies before her. But this summer Sky’s horizons are broadened, her nerves are set alight, and never-before-imagined possibilities seem both possible and probable.
Simmone Howell‘s Girl Defective is an intriguing, engagingly written coming-of-age story about a flawed, likeably authentic, young woman. Sky is blunt, simultaneously naive and perceptive, and fleshed out with loving care by Howell. The mysteries that drive the plot are well crafted, multi-layered and successfully interwoven, keeping both Sky and the reader engaged, challenged, and ultimately rewarded as this unique summertime single plays itself out.
- Posted by Cori