Our third read was I’ll Tell You Mine by Pip Harry. This is an Australian YA fiction that Michelle very kindly sent me for my birthday!
Kate Elliot isn’t trying to fit in – that’s the whole point of being a goth, isn’t it?
Everything about her – from her hair to her clothes – screams different and the girls at her school give her a wide berth. How can Kate be herself, really herself, when she’s hiding her big secret? The one that landed her in boarding school in the first place. She’s buried it down deep but it always seems to surface.
M: Pip Harry is one of my favourite Aussie authors, so when Jasmine asked for OzYA recommendations, I just knew I’ll Tell You Mine would be one of them (followed by Pip’s second novel Head of the River). It’s your quintessential boarding school YA, but with a wonderful Aussie twist which felt like home for me. I was a day-girl at a boarding school, so reading this bought quite a few memories back for me (although, the food was always so good that day-girls would opt to buy their lunch from the boarder’s dining room!).
J: I’ll Tell You Mine is the first Australian YA that I’ve ever read and I really, really enjoyed it. I’m not very familiar at all with Australian culture as in England most of our non-UK entertainment comes from America, and so my only Oz knowledge come entirely from Neighbours and Home and Away circa 2011 (Ramsay Street and Summer Bay over revision any day), and of course from the much-loved daytime property programme classic, Wanted Down Under. Thankfully, I’ll Tell You Mine has completely opened my eyes to a realistic Australia wrapped up in a story that I thoroughly enjoyed.
M: Jasmine and I are slowly educating each other on Australian and UK culture! Apart from a fairly fun look at boarding school life, I’ll Tell You Mine is a beautiful exploration of the, often fraught, relationship between mothers and daughters. Kate is sent to board at school after an incident with her mother, something she’s deeply ashamed of and determined to keep secret. I thought Pip did an excellent job of incorporating years of friction between the two into the story, while also showing them start to mend their relationship towards the end.
J: I agree, and I really enjoyed the unravelling of Kate’s secret. Nothing was kept hidden from the reader for too long (sometimes books keep you hanging for ages and it gets a bit boring) and the gradual reveal kept me intrigued and interested. I think that Pip’s exploration of the mother-daughter relationship was written really nicely, and I particularly liked the inclusion of Kate’s dad and sister to balance out the family dynamic. The mother-daughter relationship is something that all females can relate to and I’m pleased that it was portrayed in many different ways. One of Kate’s friends, Maddy, had a mum that had died and this was a storyline that cleverly ran parallel to Kate’s for much of the story.
This is part 1 – read part 2 on Michelle’s blog.