Nomes's Reviews > The Comet Box

The Comet Box by Adrian Stirling
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's review
May 25, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: 2011, aussie-ya, ya-male-pov
Read from May 16 to 19, 2011

I was so looking forward to Adrian Stirling's sophomore novel after pretty much being blown away by his debut Broken Glass by Adrian Stirling. My expectations were high and he absolutely delivered.

The Comet Box is quite different in tone and atmosphere to Broken Glass. In Broken Glass, Stirling nails that gritty, claustrophobic and tight knit feel of a dusty small country town community. It was a sensory and gripping read, tense, vivid, absorbing and featured an astonishing climax.

While the Comet Box is different in setting, era and themes, it still shines with the same brilliance that blew me away in Broken Glass: it's a vivid and absorbing portrayal of life in the Aussie suburbs. I was continually impressed with how completely Stirling immerses the reader in the era ~ mid 1980's Aussie suburban life ~ utterly authentic and absolutely undeniably Australian.

There was just so much to love about this novel. Of course, there's the mystery surrounding why Andrew's sister has run away ~ and the suspense bubbles quietly under the surface throughout the novel:

'If I told you the truth, you'd run away as well,' she said so quietly that I could barely hear it. 'Go to bed, Andrew, and forget about everything.' p109

But it wasn't just the hook that captivated me while reading The Comet Box. It was the way Stirling holds a mirror up to suburban life, to human nature, to each character in the novel. He should win some sort of award for delving effortlessly into the minds of all the neighbourhood characters and beautifully, astonishingly, scarily depicting them. I could have been reading about a number of people I know and have grown up with O.O

I don't like to compare books, but reading The Comet Box reminded me very much so of the way Christos Tsiolkas explores Aussie themes/lifestyle/etc in The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas which won so many awards for it's honest & startling depiction) although The Comet Box is still entirely different. I didn't particularly enjoy The Slap but I so very immensely liked The Comet Box. And I think it was because our protagonist is so relate-able ~ and also due to the gritty, grinning sense of humour ~ OH MY GOSH there are some completely brilliant lines in there. It's pretty much an entirely quotable book.

I ate an apple and forgot to take the sticker off first - my mother was probably wishing that I'd saved it for the scrapbook.' p123 (loved Andrew's scrap-booking mum. So easy to imagine her)

Andrew is curious and right at that point in life where he is searching for answers and thinking about life and what it should be against how it is. And finding out things are not at all how they seem. Perfect YA themes. Kind of disturbing and addictive ~ as if reading you are spying on Andrew's neighbourhood. Andrew puts himself right in the thick of things and the climax of the novel really is heart-pounding. There's this feeling that anything could happen and things get perfectly wild and edgy and it's taut and everything a climax should be.

Apart from the main themes in the novel ~ I pretty much LOVED all the smaller events that took place. I have lots of favourite grin-worthy parts. A lot of them made me feel quite nostalgic. Here's some of my favourite scenes/moments:

Going camping at the caravan park ~ just brilliant

MAGIC MOUNTAIN (!) so perfect (I went there too!) and the day there made me LOL

buying lollies from the corner shop <3

all the media and anticipation of Haley's comet (gosh ~ awesome idea to weave into the premise!)

Christmas day ~ so easy to visualise and feel the atmosphere

the BBQ's ~ and the cornflake salad, haha. PRICELESS

Romeo and Andrew in the abandoned house. that scene is so made of teenage win!

I wondered why people were so happy when they were camping, when they left the things they owned. p 83 (adore Andrew's observations)

For a second, I wondered if the road in front of us and the hills in the distance were real or just a backdrop that could tear apart at any moment and leave us hanging in space. p159
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Reading Progress

05/16/2011 page 46

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Nic (new) - added it

Nic Curious about this one!

Nomes it's good so far ~ i momentarily abandoned it because i couldn't wait any longer to read Every Little Thing in the World by Nina de Gramont :)

Jess - The Tales Compendium I'm reading this now and almost finished. I'm really enjoying it :)

Nomes I finished it a few days ago and have a half written review in drafts on my blog :)

I liked it too (4 stars) :D

ALPHAreader You were right, I loved it.

Nomes it's really awesome.

i have half drafted my review but am really struggling with conveying it just right (somehow i can't imagine you ever having that problem, haha, your reviews are always so spot-on and 'wise' LOL)

message 7: by Nic (new) - added it

Nic Buying lollies at the corner store. YUM! Remember how much you could get for 50 cents!

Great review Nomes. You really describe this book beautifully. Can't wait to read it :)

Nomes thanks nic :)

i procrastinated writing this for a couple of weeks, haha.

(i still have a back load of reviews to do but i keep reading and reviewing other books instead...)

Jess - The Tales Compendium Great review Nomes. I'm having a lot of trouble writing my review, even though I liked the book :S

Nomes it took me ages to write as well jess. and then i just forced myself to get on with it.

reviewing is weird that way :/ sometimes i can write a review in 20 mins (okay, rarely 20 mins ~ but sometimes the words just flow and i don't have to edit or anything) and other times it seems like it takes hours over a couple of weeks.

also. i am a procrastinator ;)

i am sure your review will be good ~ you write so seamlessly :D

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