There is so much to love about Clare Strahan’s young adult book, Cracked.

Clover Jones is cracked. She’s on the cusp of adulthood and teetering on the edge at school. At times she feels unwanted, unloved, and overwhelmed at the dire state of the planet. People seem to have a habit of leaving Clover; her dad, her best friend, Alison Larder and her Iraqi art teacher, Ms Yamouni. Add to that, a weird mother and an ageing dog, and it’s quite clear why Clover is cracked.

Strahan has perfectly captured the angst of teen life—the battle to fit in versus the fight to find and follow your own mind. The pain at finding out that life is far more complicated than you thought, and that adults can be the biggest pains in the neck.

Strahan draws on art, mental health challenges, and environmental sustainability to flesh out Clover’s world.

Cracked is a cracking good read. It’s thoughtful and thought-provoking, and quiet and loud all at once.

Cracked is a book full of heart and hope. Highly recommended.

From the publisher:

A wonderful debut novel that captures the essence of real, messy teenage lives: of action and consequence, of poor choices and fragile friendships, of standing up for what is right, and the attempt to make sense of a world when everything feels like it’s falling apart.

I’m pretty sure that by the time I finish high school, I’ll be cracked into a pile of shards, beyond repair.

At fifteen, Clover is finding the going tougher than she expected. Her life is close to being derailed on the rocky terrain of family, friendship, first love, acts of defiance and a planet on the brink of environmental disaster. So when Keek breaks his promise to her, and school sucks, and her mother is impossible, and her beloved old dog is dying, and her dad is in the wind, and the girls at school are awful and the footy-boys are bullies and she’s arrested for vandalism – well, what else can she be but a little bit broken? Can Clover pull herself together – or will she spiral further out of control?

When life feels like it’s fracturing, how do you find a way to feel whole?

Category:  Young adult fiction
ISBN:  9781743316030
Publisher:  Allen & Unwin
Imprint:  A & U Children
Pub Date:  June 2014
Page Extent:  320
Format:Paperback – B format
Age:  15 – 18
Subject:  Young adult fiction

About Clare Strahan

Clare Strahan is a Melbourne writer who once rattled out a novel on a manual typewriter by candlelight. She is also a drama tutor with a passion for Shakespeare, a graduate of RMIT’s Professional Writing & Editing, a writer of fiction and poetry for humans of all ages and has published in Overland, where she curated their first fiction anthology and volunteers as a contributing editor. She is a freelance editor, creator of the Literary Rats cartoon, and flutters about the twittersphere as @9fragments.