The Whole of My World by Nicole Hayes
Published by Woolshed Press by Random House
Tackling grief head-on is always a hard task, but to capture it through the eyes of a teenager is even more challenging. However, Hayes does not shy away from such subject matter and has managed to produce a profoundly moving piece of work.
Set in Melbourne in the 1980’s, this book follows Shelley, a 15 year old girl, on her journey through adolescence after a heart- wrenching loss. Shelley clings to her near fanatic obsession with the Glenthorn Football Club, when everything else in her life seems to be failing. We experience Shelley’s progress as she experiences a new school, a new best friend, and a kindred spirit in the form of an AFL player named Mick.
Accurate and poignant, it is easy to feel a strong empathy with Shelley. While the main storyline pulls us through the long-term aftermath of tragedy, there is more to this novel than just a sad story. It is about beginning again and renewing, while still trying to be able to connect to the past. The book also delves into other important teenage issues including drinking, crushes gone wrong and bullying.
This is one of those stories that will stay with you, long after you have shut the cover. Both teenagers and adults will be able to identify with the themes. Those adults with teenage kids should definitely consider reading the book alongside their offspring. In fact, it is almost seems to be made with these collaborative reads in mind: it has enough football in it to keep teenage boys enthralled, and enough 80’s references (including Jason Donovan) spattered throughout to keep parents amused. This is novel that tells its tale without being overly boxed in by gender stereotypes or the need for ultra-modern surrounds.
This is Hayes first novel and has already been short listed for the Young Australian Book Awards. It is easy to see why, with elements that seem to combine touches from Australia YA classics such as “Looking for Alibrandi” (Marchetta) and “So Much to tell You” (Marsden). This book is sure to be a classroom hit.
'One Woolly Wombat' enables young readers to interact with the book, become familiar with Australian flora and fauna, and reinforce basic mathematical skills, all while enjoying this visual feast.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Nicole Hayes
Title: The Whole of My World
Publisher: Woolshed Press
Published: May 2013