All That Impossible Space (Anna Morgan, Lothian)
Lara Laylor just wants to get through year 10 without too much drama, but between a controlling best friend and the shadow of an older sister with a much bigger personality, avoiding drama is a challenge. When new girl Kate befriends her and she meets a boy at musical rehearsals, Lara starts to realise perhaps she’s someone different to what she’s been made to feel. And when the new history teacher offers an unusual task, the mystery of the Somerton Man engages Lara’s curiosity. But things are not what they seem in history class, and Lara’s life is turned upside down amid conspiracy and change. Author Anna Morgan treads a difficult path in All That Impossible Space, combining a true crime mystery from South Australia’s past with a well-told journey of adolescent friendship and belonging. Taking the unusual approach of including fictionalised vignettes linked to the Somerton Man story, Morgan explores the 70-year-old investigation in a fresh way, though these segments could perhaps have been slightly more cohesive with the contemporary story being told. All This Impossible Space is an excellent debut from a bright new voice in Australian young adult fiction that will appeal to fans of Ellie Marney and Fleur Ferris.
Tehani Croft is a teacher librarian, academic, publisher and literary awards convenor