Wednesday, August 1, 2018

I Had Such Friends by Meg Gatland-Veness

Title: I Had Such Friends
Author: Meg Gatland-Veness
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Pantera Press

When Charlie Parker dies, it affects everyone who knew him. Everyone, that is, except for seventeen-year-old Hamish Day, the boy who lives on a cabbage farm and only has one friend. But Hamish soon finds himself pulled into the complicated lives of the people left behind. Among them is Annie Bower, the prettiest girl ins school. As he uncovers startling truths about his peers, his perspectives on friendship, love, grief and the tragic power of silence are forever altered.

Meg’s own teaching experience has enabled her to delve deeper into the true nature of a universal high school experience. I Had Such Friends will speak to high school students/teenagers on a personal level, and foster important conversations among Australian youth, school and family culture on issues including abuse, failure and neglect.

With hard-hitting themes including unrequited love, abuse, neglect, sexuality, bullying, prejudice, death and suicide, I Had Such Friends is a poignant journey of self-discovery, grief and the tragic power of silence. A gripping look at adolescent pain with a narrative maturity that accurately reflects its YA milieu, I Had Such Friends resonates with young adult audiences and pushes them to reflect on their own ‘sliding doors’ moment.
Review by Nara

I Had Such Friends is a novel by Australian author Meg Gatland-Veness. It is told from the point of view of Hamish Day, a boy who lives in a country farm, and delves into the aftermath of the death of one of the most popular boys in school.

The whole novel is written in a conversational tone that makes it quite accessible, and I found that the narrative voice sounded quite Australian. Our narrator Hamish is quite unlikeable for at least the first half of the novel. I feel like he wasn't necessarily written in a way to make him appealing to the reader, but rather to make him as realistic as possible in all his flaws and his uncertainties and insecurities, and I grew to like him more as the novel went on.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel. I could definitely see I Had Such Friends as a novel that would be studied in schools to examine the contemporary issues it raises.

Liked it
Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3.5/5
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Cover: 3/5