Thursday, 31 August 2017

Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell, and Fiona Wood

Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell, and Fiona Wood
Published August 29, 2017 by PanMacmillan
Source: ARC from the publisher
Rating: 5 stars

From the blurb: 3 award-winning authors.
1 compelling book.
ADY - not the confident A-Lister she appears to be.
KATE - brainy boarder taking risks to pursue the music she loves.
CLEM - disenchanted swim-star losing her heart to the wrong boy.
All are targeted by PSST, a toxic website that deals in gossip and lies. St Hilda's antidote to the cyber-bullying? The Year 10 Wellness program. Nice try - but sometimes all it takes is three girls.

Four years ago, on the now defunct podcast Ladies of YA, I interviewed Fiona Wood and she let slip that she, Cath Crowley, and Simmone Howell were working on a book together. I have been eagerly anticipated that book since that day. Finally receiving an ARC of Take Three Girls, a book coauthored by my three favourite authors, was a dream come true. To say I love this book would be an understatement because I love it with ALL my heart.

Sixteen-year-olds Clem, Kate, and Ady are in Year 10 at St Hilda's, a private girls school in Melbourne. Clem and Kate are boarders, but Ady is a day girl. Clem, a competitive swimmer was forced to board after her parents relocated to Singapore for work. She chose not to room with her twin sister Iris. Kate, a passionate cellist, has left her country home to try and get a scholarship so she can study medicine and not be such a burden on her parents' finances. She winds up rooming with Iris, both of them studious and serious. Ady loves fashion and art, and now dreams of becoming a costume designer. Her parents are fighting non-stop, and she's tiring of her friends and their judgemental ways. The three girls are thrown together in a new initiative at school, and they find the friendship they've all been unknowingly searching for.

Told from three perspectives, I was instantly hooked by the voices of Clem, Kate, and Ady. Each girl so different, yet also sharing similar qualities, insecurities and fears. All three of them have problems they try to avoid, despite knowing they need to eventually deal with them. They were well developed, and as the story went on, their histories and personalities were revealed in depth.

An accident forced Clem to stop swimming and now that she can return to her former pastime, she finds she's not really bothered about it. She's also struggling with how her body has changed in the six weeks since she stopped training. She's conscious of the weight she's gained and finds herself fixated on food. And Stu, he boy who bumped into her, causing her to break her wrist. She falls head over heels for him; her crush was sweet and naive.

Kate knows she's lucky to be attending such a good school, one that will hopefully keep her from having to return to her small town, even though she loves her family home. She dreams of becoming a musician and enjoys experimenting with sampling songs and playing over them on her cello. She finds Oliver, a fellow cello player in the orchestra, incredibly annoying, but watching them slowly get to know each other was such a delight. Kate's torn between doing what she feels is right and doing what her heart desires.

Ady is creative and observant. She's slowly becoming aware that she's tired of playing games and being fake, something she's had to do with her group of friends. She's also not into her boyfriend Rupert, even though she feels as though she should be, instead she later finds herself attracted to a girl named Max, someone she meets through Kate. Ady's also dealing with the guilt that she and her siblings are the reason her father is an alcoholic and coke addict, but she's determined to play it cool and not talk to anyone about her home life.

I made so many notes in regards to pop cultural references, whether it was art or music, as well as places the girls go. I loved the layers to each character and finding out all the little details that influence their lives.

The story tackles a lot of subjects including bullying, feminism, sexism, addiction, sexuality, friendship, and first loves. It looks at them realistically and sensitively and in a way that's totally relatable for teens. It's so relevant to the social issues in our world right now, and I hope that it's picked up by teenagers and their parents.

Ableist language: crazy, fuckwit, dumb, lame.

Take Three Girls is a touching, funny, beautiful story, one that is sure to appeal to readers of all ages. It made me nostalgic for my teenage years while at the same time speaking to me as a woman in her thirties. I love the characters, I love the setting, I love the issues, I LOVE THIS BOOK. I cannot wait to reread it when the finished version is in stores!

Thank you to PanMacmillan for the ARC.

1 comment:

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