Friday, 16 January 2015

Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett

This post contains a review and a bookish manicure.

Happy New Year! The last time I blogged it had been three months since my last post, and this time it's only been a month and a half - I am improving! I thought of posting a bunch of times but logging in and formatting a post seemed like a Herculean task. Anyway, here I am with a review of a book I read in August last year. It is a wonderful book, I hope you'll give it a read.

Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett
Published 2011 by Hachette
Source: my dad gave me a copy
Rating: 5 stars
From the blurb: Everyone loves Harry. Everyone except his father. Three brothers, Joe, Miles and Harry, are growing up on the remote south coast of Tasmania. The brothers’ lives are shaped by their father’s moods – like the ocean he fishes, he is wild and unpredictable. He is a bitter man, warped by a devastating secret.
Miles tries his best to watch out for Harry, the youngest, but he can’t be there all the time. Often alone, Harry finds joy in the small treasures he discovers, in shark eggs and cuttlefish bones. In a kelpie pup, a big mug of Milo, and a secret friendship with a mysterious neighbour.But sometimes small treasures, or a brother’s love, are not enough.

It’s funny how some authors often go unnoticed in the sea of fiction these days, especially when you have a focus on a particular area, like Aussie YA. In mid-August, before my dad handed me Past the Shallows, I’d never heard of Favel Parrett, and then suddenly her name was everywhere I looked because her second novel was due to be released. I’m so glad he found a copy of her debut novel because it’s an amazing example of Aussie YA fiction.

Past the Shallows is the story of the Curran boys: Joe (nineteen), Miles (approximately thirteen), and Harry (about eight). They live on the south coast of Tasmania with their father, an abalone fisherman. Their mother died not long ago, in a car accident. Their father is a violent, moody alcoholic, and Miles tries to protect Harry as much as possible, especially since Joe moved out. Miles also has to help on the boat, a job he is not fond of due to his father and his co-worker.

The story is told from Harry and Miles’ perspectives, and through them we learn of the mystery of why their father hates Harry so much, and the details of their mother’s death. Both boys sounded older than I first thought, and when I realised just how young they were, I became even sadder. I adored both of them, Harry is so young and innocent, he is pleased by the smallest of things, and is always trying to do nice things for Miles. Miles has so much responsibility for someone so young, I admired the way he cared for Harry.

The writing is beautiful, descriptive, and compelling – I hadn’t planned on reading this when it was given to me, but I glanced at the first page and once I started reading I could not stop. Each scene is so vivid, I could feel the cool, coastal air, and smell the salty sea. The more violent scenes, like the one involving a shark, were horrifying and left me feeling sick.

Because the boys are so young, the truth about their family becomes apparent to the reader before it does to them, but the ending is no less shocking because of it. I finished this book while sitting in my kitchen, with sunlight streaming in, but I still felt chilled to my core, with tears streaming down my face. 

Past the Shallows is a beautifully told story with a powerful impact, perfect for teens and adults. 

** International readers: both of Favel's book have also been published in the USA and the UK!

This book recently got a cover make over so it matches Favel’s second novel, When the Night Comes, both have lovely covers, but I’m still partial to the older cover and wanted to capture it in a manicure.

I started with 2 coats of Orly Smoked Out as the base.

In the top right hand area of each nail I sponged on China Glaze Too Yacht To Handle.

Then I dabbed on two different glitter polishes: Orly Go Deeper and L.A Girl Nostalgic.

On my ring finger nail I painted the seahorse using acrylic paint and a very fine brush.


  1. Nice review on the book! Those nails though. Wow, just stunning.

  2. I have seen your nails on IG and ever since then I've been checking out that book. It sounds even better than I thought it would sound. Beautiful writing is something that can always win me over. Great review :)

  3. wow lovely manicure!
    I'd love to read this book myself, I think I would love it!
    Hope you'll have a nice weekend <3


  4. Welcome back. Lovely nails as always. Sounds like a terrific read I haven't heard fo this before and it sounds wonderful.

  5. beautiful manicure ! i am in love with this pics !

  6. oh this sounds like an intense book! i feel like i would end up really swept in in their world as well.

    GOOORGEOUS mani, m!

  7. The book/author is new to me but it sounds wonderful! I am loving your nails, they look amazing!

    Sharon – Obsession with Books

  8. I hadn't heard of this, but it sounds like a beautifully written novel. I really want to read more Aussie authors. LOVE the nails too.

  9. I love your sea manicure!

    And this sounds like a book I would enjoy. I really love when adult readers can figure out what is going around the edges of a young character's narration.

  10. Those nails are GORGEOUS. I'm just so envious of your talent! They match the book perfectly. :)

  11. Mandssss! I am so glad you're back, I missed you ♥ Lovely review, I haven't read a ton of aussie books (yet) but I've loved what I have read and this one sounds just as wonderful as the rest^^ I'd definitely have to be in the proper mood to read it but thanks for putting it on my radar! Gorgeous matching mani as well xx

  12. Those nails are absolutely FANTASTIC. Love the colours.

  13. Omgggg the nails look sooo gorgeous <3 I can hardly focus on the book after seeing your nails, they match the book :) Love!

    Benish | Feminist Reflections

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