Nova Weetman has achieved the perfect teen voice today, just as Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary did for my generation.

When I was thirteen, my favourite books were by Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. I literally inhaled their stories for teens, and reading Nova Weetman’s The Edge of Thirteen brought back all those feels.

This is my first Clem Timmins book and I was charmed by her character — she’s a little kooky, a little grouchy, a little unsure of herself while at the same time being strong and confident — she’s a complex swirl of teen emotion.

Clem is thirteen and going into year 8 at school. Her best friends, Ellie and Bridge have changed over the summer break, but Clem is still flat-chested, hasn’t had her period and she isn’t boy crazy. She’s smaller than her friends too, but that doesn’t make her any less mature. When the three friends go away for outdoor ed camp, their friendships are tested, Clem humiliates herself big time, and it’s all a bit disastrous.

What I liked about The Edge of Thirteen was the easy to read, gentle story about finding your own path. There was nothing jarring in this story and I would confidently share this story with young readers. Clem is wonderfully drawn, and Weetman’s writing is both clear and highly visual — something I really value in the books I read. This is a gorgeous book and one I thoroughly enjoyed. More, please!

Here’s the blurb:

Clem Timmins can’t wait to see her best friends after being apart all summer holidays. But when they get back together, things have changed. Bridge is boy-crazy and acting like a different person. Ellie is wearing a bra and having a real-life romance. Clem feels left behind. When she makes friends with Tom, suddenly everyone’s gossiping about whether they’re going to be a couple. Clem’s got no interest in having a boyfriend. Or does she?

At school camp, Bridge crosses the line and Clem has to make a decision. Can she keep growing up with her friends when they’re growing apart? 

This story of fitting in and falling out perfectly captures how it feels to balance on the edge of who you are and who you want to be.

Many thanks to UQP for gifting me a copy of this special book.