Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Story of Tom Brennan” as Want to Read:
The Story of Tom Brennan
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Story of Tom Brennan

3.23 of 5 stars 3.23  ·  rating details  ·  562 ratings  ·  66 reviews
"For seventeen-year-old Tom, life is about rugby, his mates and his family, who are well respected in their small country town. But a night of celebration changes his life forever. Tom's older brother, Daniel, starts a fight at the 'sudden death' pre-final party - then, worse, Daniel is involved in a car accident on the way home. Their cousin, Fin, suffers irreversible spi ...more
Paperback, 284 pages
Published September 2nd 2005 by Random House (Australia)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
On the Jellicoe Road by Melina MarchettaThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakSaving Francesca by Melina MarchettaGraffiti Moon by Cath CrowleyTomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
Favourite Aussie YA books
73rd out of 262 books — 792 voters
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakPicnic at Hanging Rock by Joan LindsayBurn Bright by Marianne de PierresTomorrow, When the War Began by John MarsdenWhisky Charlie Foxtrot by Annabel Smith
Aussie Authors
13th out of 182 books — 47 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 828)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Shirley Marr
Firstly - I must mention that the endorsement on the front cover by David Koch, from Channel 7 Sunrise almost put me off. I am not saying that this is a bad thing (non-Australians can tune off right about now). Kochie's a top bloke and he's probably got excellent literary taste - but c'mon, a book endorsed by a former Father-of-the-year type saying "A must read for all teens"? Will this book be hidden-agenda laden with a strong community-service 'don't drink and drive kiddies' message?

Daniel Bre
I was taking a dump while reading this book, when it suddenly I smelt something real bad but then it hit me, it wasn't the feces falling out of my anus that was causing the smell. it was this book, so I flushed the book down the toilet and preserved my shit, because to be honest it was far more interesting than the book.
like many other I had to read this for English, the storyline itself was intriguing however it was ruined through the scenes dragging on more than necessary, the characters didn't seem to have any development and besides one character, all the characters irritated me greatly. I was hoping the ending would change my perception of the book and end with something regarding Daniel or fin but the ending was a huge letdown and I thought it was stupid.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sad boy meets girl and gets happy. Thats it, reading it I wasn't even interested in the gradually building back story because its just so obvious whats happened. I feel so sorry for all the other poor HSC kids forced to read this.
"Winner, Book of the Year - Older Readers 2006" - Children's Book Council of Australia

"Winner, Children's Literature (Novel) 2006" - of the Australian Family Therapists' Award

"A must read for all teens." - David Koch, Channel 7 Sunrise

"From my small town childhood and youth I can vouch for the verisimilitude of the events that course through The Story of Tom Brennan … JC Burke is right on the money. It is a memorable book. Through the eyes of Tom Brennan she has convincingly related an all too c
I did not like this book. I was made to read this for school like many others and I'm not quite sure it is a book for schools. It feels like people think that high school kids would relate well to the character but I think high school kids will end up hating it the most.
The story and themes all work but the way their presented is the problem. All the events happening are shown from the perspective of Tom Brennan.
It was quite difficult to sympathize with the character; in fact, most of the time
I had to read this as part of English for school in a class of about 16 other teenagers. They listened to this on audio while I naturally read ahead and finished it a full day ahead of everyone else ( because I had to stop to answer questions). This means that I had to sit through the bits about the main character perving and later making out with a girl. On audio. Oh how I hated every moment of it.

But I'm going to ignore all that and make this review simply about what I thought if the book, not
I reckon this is a very intense and meaningful book. The reason being is that the author writes with a stylistic and natural approach, thus capturing the reader's hearts, and tactfully drawing us into reading the book further. Not only does this book focus on Australia's contemporary 'youth culture', but it also brings about a stark, central message to its readers; That change is an inevitable part of one's existence and it enables an individual to develop maturity throughout the course of their ...more
This was quite a good book. Nice to read a story like this from the perspective of an introverted and quiet male teen. Felt a bit predictable, but not in a bad way really. The point of this book was not the outcome or the ending. I liked how Daniel was portrayed. He was shown to be selfish, foolish and arrogant, but also pathetic, troubled and misguided -- qualities that made him forgivable. An interesting account of grief and a good read for adults, not just teens.
This. Book. Was. Unbelievable.

My sister was too lazy to read it so she gave it to me to read, although I'm glad she did.

Not one of my favourite reads but it was good.

I think Tom Brennan gained whole lot of life experience. From the accident to moving houses.

He hated his brother, Daniel, but love overruled his hate.

This book was about taking your own paths and making the most of it.
I had no real intention of reading this book.

It ticks all the boxes of things I wouldn't normally try - rural australian, teenage boy, SPORT (underline that a few times). But I saw J.C. Burke read a portion of this one out at the Celebrate Reading conference in Fremantle, and it interested me enough to buy it and take it home.

Well, it took me two days and I'm really impressed. Burke doesn't treat her characters like children, and their reactions are visceral and believable. The central event in
I was forced to read this novel for my English HSC and I really struggled. Although it has an interesting storyline and the message the author attempts to convey is exceptional, I just couldn't get myself to like this book. I think that it was dragging on too much! Nothing interesting or worthwhile really occurred as the story was unfolding besides the occasional flashbacks which was a very good technique to intrigue the reader. Other than that, I felt like I was reading the diary of a teenage b ...more
John (J.J.) Sheahan
This is one of those 'aaah' books. Straightforward - no mucking about - gritty and raw - this is real life in one of the less pleasant, but very familiar lanes.
I was particularly taken with the depiction of the different modes of survival employed within the family. So much grief. And I have been around teens long enough to witness events and aftermaths like this.
And while it is a real slap over the back of the head, its overall theme is optimistic: that sometimes all you can do is endure the
I had such mixed feelings about this book.
I loved the emotion and personalisation in this book, focusing solely on the character development of a boy going through a trauma his brother had caused.
But then I really disliked the language which is very stereotypical slang of Australia that isn't necessarily used in this day and age, but that's just a personal preference within my reading experience.
I think that the woman who wrote this book did a fantastic job of portraying a boys character and sho
It's shit.
Belinda G
This book improved on second reading.
I remember being really disappointed in this book, as I'd really enjoyed Burke's other novels, particularly The Red Cardigan, but this one has a totally different tone. I think it'd be way more appealing to teenage boys than girls, which is fortunate for my student but unfortunate for teenaged me all those years ago!

Don't let the low ratings put you off- they're mainly from NSW HSC students who are so over having to study this book. I don't really blame them
Banafsheh Serov
Tom Brennan and his family are forced to leave their home in the small town of Mumbilli, and move in with their grandmother in the nearby town of Coghill. Their move follows a tragedy involving Tom’s brother Daniel after a night of celebration. Feeling trapped and claustrophobic Tom is haunted daily by the memory of the tragedy. Throughout the story each member of the Brennan family struggles to come to terms with their new situation. At the same time Burke slowly reveals the dark side of Daniel ...more
Firstly, I'd like to say that as a teenage boy, the same age as Tom Brennan, and with a good friend who was recently involved in a major car accident, I may be a little biased, but I really enjoyed this book. Some have said it's a little predictable, and I agree. I found parts of the book cliched, overtly sentimental (the story becomes bogged down in romance near the end) and some of the dialogue to be stilted and unrealistic. But the sheer power of the story and its narrator compels you to keep ...more
May 30, 2014 Elissa added it
I had to read this to help a student with their HSC preparation, but I can't say I enjoyed it much. So many of the descriptions were exactly the same - repeated verbatim in just about every chapter throughout the book. It became odious. And as long as I have lived in Australia, and worked with kids, I have never heard teenagers speak the way these characters speak. It was hard to get through because it seemed so unrealistic, character wise. But I know that reading is a subjective experience.
You need to put aside that this is a set text for the HSC in NSW as it makes it seem dull and boring and something you are made to read. If you read it purely for enjoyment then this is a great young adult read. It has a real message behind it and is good to see a different side of a story told - that of the family left behind, rather then the individual that committed the crime and their journey in goal. Read it and you won't regret it.
3.5 stars. The Story of Tom Brennan centres around the title character Tom and his family following his older brother Daniel being the driver of a fatal car accident. The Brennan family is forced to move from their small town to live with family in another small town after Daniel is convicted and jailed. J.C. Burke effectively explores how Daniel's actions has tragic repercussions for the extended Brennan family. Tom's journey centres around trying to deal with guilt for not preventing the accid ...more
The story of Tom Brennan is a book that examines the aftermath of a car crash and its affect on the family of the driver and the families who had young people in the car as well. It is a book that teenage boys getting ready to drive should be reading and anyone thinking about being passenger in a car in which the driver is clearly drunk.
Miss Bliss
Feb 04, 2011 Miss Bliss rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Miss Bliss by: My Aunt
Tom Brennan is a teenage with a pretty good life. He's a football star, he does pretty well at school, he's well respected with his peers. His family is also quite functional. Until his older brother starts drinking. Daniel (the older brother) makes some not so hot choices that have a massive negative impact on his family. Living in a small town, the situation becomes more complicated and more difficult for everyone to deal with.

The Story of Tom Brennan is the story of a journey from breakdown t
i hate this book. gives off too much negativity. especially the way they mock Christianity. hated it hated how Tom is self centered. and how no one sympathized the mother or even cared.everyone only cared about them selves.

sorry for the errors.
bit of a hurry writing this disgusting review.
Lauren Fichera
I understand that this book had a good message but it honestly felt like an adult, insisting that they understood the world of teenagers when they were actually completely clueless. Also the endless talk about rugby bored me half to death.
Kaitlyn Down
I had to take off two stars simply because of the ending! I mean i had finally gotten into the book and was quite hooked on the story line and then the author goes and does that! I mean argh "she took me inside of her" what the hell!!!
Natasha Constantinou
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol Gaston
An excellent coming of age book. Understand why it is on the school curriculum.
I think this book is moderately good but could be better than good.

10/10 gooder
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 27 28 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Representation of Disability 1 9 Jan 23, 2014 08:52PM  
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Only Ever Always
  • Brown Skin Blue
  • Grace
  • New Guinea Moon
  • Intruder
  • The Protected
  • The Whole of My World
  • The Naming of Tishkin Silk
  • Creepy and Maud
  • Letters to a Bullied Girl: Messages of Healing and Hope
  • The Dead I Know
  • Her Father's Daughter
  • Saree
  • A Bridge To Wiseman's Cove
  • Teacher's Dead
  • The Bone Tiki (Aotearoa, #1)
  • The Good Daughter
.J.C Burke was born in Sydney in 1965, the fourth of five sisters. With writers for parents, she grew up in a world of noise, drama and books, but she decided to become a nurse after her mother lost a long battle with cancer. Since Burke started writing in 1999, she has published a number of acclaimed books for teenagers and young adults, including Chi
More about J.C. Burke...
The Red Cardigan Faking Sweet Pretty Girl Nine letters long Starfish Sisters

Share This Book

“The silhouettes of houses slipped past before I could catch them and remember the people we were leaving behind. In a couple of hours they would wake and find us gone, far away, so as not to remind them of their pain and what our family now meant to this town.
My name is Tom Brennan and this is my story.”
More quotes…