The Edge of Thirteen (Nova Weetman, UQP)
The Edge of Thirteen is the latest offering by acclaimed middle-grade author Nova Weetman. Following the characters from Weetman’s ‘The Secrets We Keep’ series, yet working as a standalone story, this relatable and accessible novel shines with authenticity and candour. Newly teenaged Clem is just trying to fit into high school, but returning after summer holidays, she already feels like she’s fallen behind. While her two best friends are embarking on romances and swapping advice about tampons, Clem’s flat chest and disinterest in boys puts her on the outside. Growing up isn’t easy when everyone seems to do it at a different pace, and Clem soon learns the hard way that sometimes growing up means growing apart. Her family bonds are also facing a tough time, as she becomes increasingly frustrated with her parents’ well-intentioned efforts to look out for her. Covering many of the important adolescent firsts—first bra, first kiss, first Instagram account—Weetman’s work is a contemporary, Australian version of the best Judy Blume tales that have resonated with teens for decades. From the embarrassment of puberty to the fear of being left out, young readers will love seeing themselves and their friends reflected on these pages.
Karys McEwen is the library manager at Prahran and Richmond High School and the president of the CBCA VIC Branch.