Elsewhere Girls (Emily Gale & Nova Weetman, Text)
Acclaimed authors Emily Gale and Nova Weetman have teamed up to write this beautifully rendered time-slip narrative that delves into the personal and social struggles of young women past and present. Thirteen-year-old Cat Feeney has earned a swimming scholarship at a fancy new school in Sydney, but she’s struggling to commit to the 5 am starts and endless training. In 1908, 16-year-old Fanny Durack (based on the Olympic champion of the same name) must fight for every opportunity just to train in a world where women are expected to stay at home and do housework. When a strange encounter with a silver stopwatch causes the girls to switch bodies, everything the girls have ever known about themselves, their families and swimming is turned upside down. It’s a pleasure to stumble along with moody Cat and affable Fan as, in alternating chapters, they attempt to reverse the ‘unwinding’ of time while making sense of their new surroundings and keeping the truth of their changed identities hidden. As Fan grapples with mobile phones and revealing bathing suits, Cat is tasked with enduring 12-hour washing days and emptying chamber pots. Elsewhere Girls is full of Gale and Weetman’s incisive charm and wit, and the pair’s existing middle-grade fans will happily devour this intimate, perceptive look at equality, class, women’s rights and what matters most.
Jacqui Davies is a freelance writer and reviewer based in South Australia.