Book Buzz
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About the book | About the author | From the author | Sales and marketing | Sample chapter | Reading copy giveaway 


About the book About the book

When Charlie Parker—the most popular boy in school—dies it affects everyone who knew him. Everyone, that is, except for Hamish Day, the boy with only one friend, who lives on a cabbage farm.

After the tragic car accident leaves his school in grief, Hamish finds himself pulled into the lives of the people left behind. He tries his best to thread them back together again, even though he is pretty sure he’s the least qualified person for the job. As new friendships chip away at his quiet façade, Hamish is forced to face the traumas of his own past, as well as the person he is becoming.

Set in rural Australia, this powerful Australian YA debut deals with the delicate themes of unrequited love, abuse, neglect, sexuality, bullying, prejudice, death and suicide. Reminiscent of the warm and raw voices of Charlie Kelmeckis from The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Clay Jensen from Thirteen Reasons Why, this is an important story about self-discovery, grief and finding your voice.

I Had Such Friends
Publication: August 2018
Category: Young Adult Fiction
Format: B+ Format PB
ISBN: 9781925700015
RRP: $19.99
Format: Ebook
ISBN 9781925700954
RRP $8.99


About the author About the author

Meg Gatland-Veness is an influential, emerging voice in the YA space.

Born in a small country town called Milton, she grew up on the Central Coast before attending the University of Newcastle to study a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English and drama, as well as a Bachelor of Secondary Teaching.

Meg currently works as a drama teacher on the Central Coast of NSW, which enables her to capture the modern-day Australian teenage experience.


From the author

I grew up in a small town on the Australian Central Coast. I remember the first time someone I knew died. She was a girl in my year at school. She was in my roll-call class. I had been to her house a couple of times. She was a painter. She loved to dance. I once had a crush on her older brother. She was in the school’s Support Unit. My dad taught her little brother at my old primary school. Everybody knew everybody. 

When I went to her funeral I remember that I whimpered. I’d never heard myself make that sound before. My year adviser was there. He was one of the nicest men I have ever met. He cried when he told us she was dead. He cried a lot. I loved him for that. The opening of I Had Such Friends comes from a very real memory of mine. It’s the way in which our year group healed through one of the toughest times in our lives.

Now I am an English and drama teacher in a high school very close to where I grew up. Sadly, we have dealt with two student deaths in just one year. Every day I see first-hand the struggles and trials that young people face in their day-to-day lives. And I have witnessed the dire effects that grief can have on a school community.

It is my hope that readers appreciate hearing Hamish’s story and the stories of the people whose lives he touches.


Sales and marketing campaign

  • Paid Instagram and Facebook campaigns serving over 500,000 impressions in August.
  • Digital and audio advertising on Spotify targeting over 500,000 users in August. 
  • Kill Your Darlings digital advertising from 13 August.
  • Better Reading Kids Book of the Week in August.
  • Full-page advertising in the Summer issue of Girlfriend Magazine, on sale 10 September.
  • Interview and podcast with SpineOut in September.
  • Advertised on 80,000 small satchels distributed through all Leading Edge stores from August to November.
  • National blogger tour.
  • Teacher’s Notes are available here.
  • Digital retailer assets are available. Please email to receive the digital package.


Start reading

Read the first chapter of I Had Such Friends here.


Reading copy giveaway

For your chance to receive an advance copy of I Had Such Friends, email with ‘I Had Such Friends B+P Giveaway’ in the subject line. The first 10 people to respond will receive a copy.





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Kelsey Oldham

Digital editor
Brad Jefferies

Acting editor, Daily
Matthia Dempsey

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Anthea Yang

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