Can’t Say it Went to Plan (Gabrielle Tozer, HarperCollins)
Schoolies is revered as a holiday unlike no other, where, for the first time, teenagers are free—from school, from adults, from responsibility. Can’t Say it Went to Plan follows three separate protagonists through a week at schoolies, the quintessential rite of passage from high school into adulthood. Samira has been planning the picture-perfect trip for months, but things turn sour when her boyfriend dumps her before they even arrive at their accommodation. Zoe is weighed down with the pressure of getting an early admission into university and living up to the standards set by her perfect older sister. Dahlia struggles with grief as she faces a future without her best friend after losing her to cancer. Can’t Say it Went to Plan is contemporary YA that nails the realities of coming of age. It depicts the pain and embarrassment of broken friendships, bad decisions and steep learning curves, alongside the strength and joy of finding your people, finding new love and finding yourself. This novel is Tozer at her best—it has the humour of The Intern paired with the emotional depth of Remind Me How This Ends, on top of a diverse cast of characters. Recommended for ages 14-plus, Can’t Say it Went to Plan provides a cinematic read with movie-like moments in which you can practically hear the soundtrack swell.
Jordi Kerr is a freelance reviewer and youth literature advocate, and a support worker for the queer community.