The F Team (Rawah Arja, Giramondo)
Tariq is a smart kid, he just lacks the motivation to achieve his full potential. At least, that’s what he has always been told, living in Punchbowl, Western Sydney, where every other day the evening news targets the boys in his migrant community. When faced with the sudden foreclosure of his school, Tariq and his friends (the self-proclaimed ‘wolf pack’) have no choice but to get their act together and help out—or face the end of their friendship group. For Mr Archie, the new principal, a rugby team seems like the best place to start, and the boys band together to make the best of their situation. In her debut YA novel, Rawah Arja expertly expresses the difficulty of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood while navigating family, friendship, love and self-worth. Not just full of heart and the importance of community, Arja’s novel is also honest. Even though Tariq and his friends are flawed, they are relatable, and we still end up rooting for them as they figure out the meaning of home and the type of men they want to be. The F Team is an introspective and thought-provoking coming-of-age read for those aged 13–17.
Tracy-Kate Watts is a poet and former Djed Press mentee.