Author: Sophie Laguna
Genre: General Fiction
Format: Paperback 307 pages
Release Date: 28 March 2019
My thanks to the publisher for the copy provided to me for review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Justine Lee was born breech, entering the world on her knees. She reads words the wrong way round. But she sees things more clearly than the adults around her think.
Raised by her Pop since her parents left, Justine helps feed the chooks and makes dens down by the narrow stretch of the Murray River they call the Choke, dodging the violent games of her half-brothers.
When Justine hears her dad’s coming home at Christmas, she feels a mixture of excitement and dread. He’s a dangerous man, and his presence will close in on Justine’s young life, like the riverbanks at the Choke. She must find a way to flow onwards, breaking the cycle of violence and poverty through friendship, resilience and her own strength.
I must admit, I didn’t really ‘get’ this book at first when I started reading it. I was a bit confused about what the story was actually about and couldn’t see where it was going. This is one of those books however, that I am so glad I persevered with because I actually ended up loving it.
It is such a beautifully told story about a young girl Justine who doesn’t quite see the world, words and people in the same way as others. It’s a hard read at times. Justine doesn’t have the best up binging and has no strong female role model to help her navigate through the tricky road to becoming a teenager.
Probably one of my favourite parts of this book was the friendship between Justine and Micheal. Micheal is a bit like Justine in that he doesn’t communicate with others in the same way. Watching how they both came to understand each other even when no one else could was really lovely and heart warming.
I’m so glad I continued and finished this book. I found this to be a really beautiful, if at times heart wrenching read that I really enjoyed.
About the Author
Sofie Laguna originally studied to be a lawyer, but after deciding law was not for her, she moved to Melbourne to train as an actor. Sofie worked for many years as an actor before she began to write – both for children and adults.
Sofie has just released her third novel for adults, ‘The Choke’, to wide acclaim.
Sofie lives in Melbourne with her husband, illustrator Marc McBride, and their two young sons.
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