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Genre: Young Adult
When Only One
‘There’s someone in the school. Someone who’s not supposed to be there. This person is walking towards the classroom. They’re holding something in their hands. Something terrifying.’
Sam lives with his mum, dad and four brothers in a small farming town. At his school, there are three main factions: the rich kids, the mid-grounders and the farm kids who live on the outskirts. Sam is a comfortable mid-grounder and life is pretty good. He works as a lifeguard at the local surf club, is saving to buy his first car, he’s training with his friends for the Ironman challenge, and on Sunday afternoons he and his family take care packages to their less fortunate neighbours. Then, five years since they last spoke, Emily Burrow climbs back into Sam’s life and everything changes.
Emily’s life is very different to Sam’s – her absent father has returned and her mum struggles with her mental health. Sam does his best to be there for Emily when he wasn’t for so long, but there seems to be no right way to help her.
When Rei starts at school, Sam is smitten. Rei’s parents are social workers, she’s from the rich side of town, and her life seems a thousand miles away from how the kids on the outskirts live. In a world that’s ill-equipped to support kids struggling with unseen burdens, is there a way to help Emily before the worst happens?
From the bestselling author of I Had Such Friends comes a novel that’s gritty, full of heart and shines a light on kids who are doing it tough in a rural Australian town.
‘An addictive page turner with so much heart.’ ELIZA HENRY-JONES, author of How to Grow a Family Tree and P is for Pearl
‘A powerful, unflinching study of poverty, grief, mental illness and family dysfunction, and the devastating effects these can have on the teens who slip through the cracks. Sam is a heartfelt and humorous narrator, his family and friends are vibrant and loveable, and his efforts to navigate the ethics and complexities of growing up are both heartbreaking and deeply compelling.’ JACLYN MORIARTY
If you find any of the themes brought up in the book upsetting, please contact ReachOut: https://au.reachout.com/