Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing ... and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago. Then she meets Ryan and Carly has to decide ... Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy? (from Penguin: publisher's site)
I was hanging out to read this because:
- Melina Marchetta mentioned it as a fave read of 2009.
- author Julia Lawrinson said: 'If you only read one book this year ... it should be Kirsty Eagar's Raw Blue …"
- with a 19 year old protag and a 26 year old love interest, it's my kind of fave upper YA
- surfing, Sydney, haunted past, Aussie YA :)
Mate, Raw Blue is so Australian, hey? It is also so authentic that I experienced little pools of tension in my gut and tiny bubbles of hope that Carly would be okay. A powerful, raw and beautiful novel that now sits proudly on my all time faves shelf.
It has this languid, quietly intense pace which you sit back in the pocket, holding your breath. I was only a fifth in when I was startled to discover that Carly had gotten under my skin in a way that a literary character hasn't for a very long time. I was crazily invested in her and felt all ripped up and torn inside-out as the novel progressed. I so wanted her to be okay.
Carly is such an awesome protag - 19, tough surfer girl, vulnerable and alone, hurting (after a traumatic/shocking event @ schoolies) not letting anyone in. Enter Ryan - surfer, 26. With his own dodgy/dangerous past. And, he likes Carly. The scenes of them meeting and starting to hang out and then Carly deciding whether to trust Ryan - it's mesmerising and lip-biting and beautiful and painful all at once.
These characters are contemporary YA at it's best.
The characters and dialogue were not only distinctly Australian, but they were so nuanced and authentic that I felt like I was eavesdropping on real life. I loved the surfing scenes, where the ocean was like a living, breathing all-consuming force. Kirsty has such a way with words that you are engaged in the scene with all your five senses.
Also, I have to mention Danny, one of my fave characters. A 15 year old surfer with synaesthesia (so completely fascinating) who befriends Carly and was an awesome dude in general.
I read this in one gulping heap and even now Carly's story continues to linger. Not only was this novel brilliantly engaging - but it's also an important novel about hope and pain and healing. I've re-read it already, as if hoping to absorb some of the magic of Kirsty's writing into my own (ahh, hasn't happened yet). Kirsty Eagar has shot straight up onto my list of whoa-crazy-good authors.
Her sophomore novel, Saltwater Vampires, is out in September and I am so there! If it's half as good as Raw Blue - it'll be the best paranormal out there :)
I hardly ever give 5 stars
I only like to save them for the best of the absolute best.
This is 5 stars all the way.
Thanks to Between the Lines who sent me this book after I won a comp :)
Raw Blue @ goodreads
Trailer for Saltwater Vampires