Maureen McCarthy is the ninth of ten children and grew up on a farm near Yea in Victoria. After working for a while as an art teacher, Maureen became a full-time writer. Her novels have been shortlisted for numerous awards and include the In Between series, which was adapted from scripts Maureen co-wrote with Shane Brennan for SBS TV; Ganglands; Cross My Heart; Chain of Hearts; Flash Jack; and When You Wake and Find Me Gone. Her bestselling and much-loved book Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude get a life was made into a highly successful four-part mini-series for ABC TV. Maureen has three sons and lives in Melbourne.
Gr 9 Up-Rose's grandmother is dying, prompting the high school grad and current waitress to hit the road in her beat-up old van, with Mum in the passenger seat. Rose is less than thrilled, having successfully avoided her family for the past year. A stellar student, she was set to study law and follow in her father's footsteps, but when he left her mother, everything fell apart. McCarthy alternates chapters of the trip, during which they pick up a hitchhiker, with flashbacks to the previous year: Rose's parents' divorce, the teen's crush on Nat, and her friend Zoe's fling with him. The book steadily builds up to the revelation that Rose was seduced by Zoe's father, and thus the collapse of the young women's friendship. Still, this is a story about redemption. While readers glimpse Zoe through the flashbacks, they finally meet her when Rose visits her in the hospital; the cancer she fought as a child has returned. Their reconciliation is mirrored elsewhere; Rose's parents learn to be civil around one another, and the hitchhiker they pick up returns to his young son, whom he hasn't seen in two years. While readers may be baffled by some of the Aussie terms and the fact that Christmas takes place in the summer, these are hurdles they can easily overcome, all the while rooting for likable and complicated Rose. There is some raw language and mature content, but this novel should be an easy sell to fans of authors like Deb Caletti.-Jennifer Barnes, Homewood Library, IL Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
'brilliantly evokes family relationships...McCarthy's writing is sparkling, never missing a beat, and replete with original and striking imagery. The novel will be deservedly popular with older teenagers.' MagpiesVol 21 No 5 Nov 2006. 'Maureen McCarthy's books are engrossing because the protagonists' lives ring true and she articulates the feelings that most people leave unsaid...' Weekend Australian28-29 Oct 2006'...a satisfying story about big decisions.' ViewpointVol 14 No 4 Summer 2006
Australian author McCarthy crafts a juicy family melodrama in her American debut. Set in her native country, McCarthy's novel unfolds from the point of view of Rose, a no-nonsense 19-year-old whose happy, orderly life is destroyed when her father leaves her mother for another woman. Coping with their own grief, Rose and her three older sisters struggle to keep their mom from falling apart. Alternating between a present-day road trip taken by Rose and her mom and flashbacks from a year earlier detailing the shocking events that precipitate their trip, the book hurtles its audience onto an emotional roller coaster. Right after Rose kisses a cute new boy and is about to fall in love, she comes home to find her mother in a ball on the floor, crying; this is how Rose learns of her father's plans. The changes in tone are jarring but also gripping, and readers won't know what's going to happen next. Occasionally all the flashbacks to varying times can be confusing, and Rose's older sisters seem like stereotypes. But there is an authenticity to the flawed and conflicted Rose that will draw readers into her world. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.