The Girl with the Gold Bikini (Lisa Walker, Wakefield)
Lisa Walker’s second YA novel gives us a fun new spin on Nancy Drew and ‘girl detectives’. It will absolutely appeal to readers who love the mystery genre, with a relatable contemporary crossover. From the opening sentence, we are introduced to our sassy, slightly offbeat but very likeable heroine, Olivia Grace, a private investigator-in-training employed at the start of her gap year by her childhood friend (and not-so-former quasi-crush). A simple divorce case grows into something much more sinister, encompassing criminal activities in yoga and sushi enterprises on the Gold Coast and in Byron Bay. True to any whodunit story, there is a quirky cast of characters, many of whom seemingly have a motive to commit the crime. Walker has written an engaging, action-packed, fast-paced book—with many end-of-chapter cliffhangers. The issue of appearance discrimination is thoughtfully considered and works well within the overall context of the novel. The locations and the characters are authentically described, and the inter-character banter is entertaining, witty and moves the action along. Readers will recognise and giggle at the many pop culture references such as social media wellness hashtags, James Bond and—given the book’s title—Star Wars. The Girl with the Gold Bikini has a satisfying conclusion and I would love to know what awaits Olivia Grace next.
Alida Galati is a secondary school librarian, keen reader and YA enthusiast