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Holier Than Thou

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,025 ratings  ·  121 reviews
'What do you want, Hol?' Abby looks into my eyes.

'I ... I want to know that I'm using my powers for good and -'

'You want to make a dead man proud.'


'You want to put bandages over severed arteries that really need to be sewn shut. You want the moral high ground.'

Holly Yarkov has a boyfriend who is a gift from the universe. She has a job that fulfils her even as it
Paperback, 291 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Allen & Unwin
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  1,025 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Nataliya by: Catie
Shelves: 2012-reads

Does literature need to be the mirror of our own selves in order for us to enjoy it? This is what kept running through my mind during the few hours I spent curled up on my couch, having finished an unbelievably draining month of Inpatient Medicine, with this book as my celebratory companion.
"A nurse and a social worker took fifteen minutes out of their shitty thankless job in the roughest corner of town, sat on a couple of milk crates drinking coffee, flopped their real selves out of the cem
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Perhaps it’s stating the obvious but I think there’s a direct correlation between a reader’s engagement with Holier Than Thou and the reader’s own experiences of life in their early 20s.

Maybe I felt an affinity for this book because I was 22 when my mother first – gently, cautiously – suggested to me that I consider looking for another job because my current one was making me bitter, angry and generally distrustful of people. (It was.) Maybe I felt it because, while I am a bridge-burne
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Jo by: About a million of my favourite ladies.
So normally when I dislike a book that is obviously a well-written, unique and great book, I normally say something along the lines of “Oh well, this book obviously wasn’t written for me.’
I can’t really say that for this one, because… well, this book was written for me.
Well, not literally.
Ms Buzo didn’t sneakily e-mail me and say ‘HEY JO! I’ve written a book AND IT’S FOR YOU’. But I’m the same age as the heroine and this is kind of a big deal for me. There are tons of books written about childre
The following review was part of a three-way review on our blog. The context can be found here.

my personal Sims meters
Holly's Sims meters

I spent a huge amount of time in high school and occasionally in college playing The Sims. My younger sister and I have discussions about where are Sims meters are at any given time and it makes total sense to us. In the chart on top, you can see where I'd like my meters to be at any given time. If you approach me when my meters are at those levels, I will be chipper like no one's business. In Holier T
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Catie by: Reynje
Shelves: ya, read-in-2012
4 1/2 stars

It’s only rarely that I’ve encountered a writer like this, who so skillfully encourages the reader to participate. Laura Buzo’s writing in this book may appear simple and straightforward, but it’s deceptively so. Not only does she seamlessly weave together three different timelines, she achieves the perfect balance between what is stated and what isn’t. She gives us just enough. Instead of spelling out exactly how Holly feels, she leads us directly to our own emotions and memories. As
This is how you start a new genre. Holier Than Thou ushered in "New Adult" with a bang, and I'm going as far as to say that thus far, it's the Best Book of 2012.

I had mixed feelings about Laura Buzo's Good Oil , now titled Love and Other Perishable Items in the States, and nervously pre-ordered Holier Than Thou. I figured if I didn't like it, I could pass it on to the Fishpond fearful. Now? You'll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands! (Hello, random people who came to this page expecting to
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: chick lit readers
Shelves: chick-lit, 2012, aus-nz
As seen on The Readventurer

2.5 stars

If I am being honest, the most fun I had while reading Holier Than Thou was when I was contemplating if this new emerging genre of "New Adult" fiction would be for me. If you are not familiar with the idea of "New Adult" (as opposed to "Young Adult" or "Adult") fiction, this term seems to have been coined by the St. Martin's Press' publishing team back in 2009 when they announced a writing contest seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and markete
Emily May
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was ok

Well... this is disappointing. I was so certain I would love Holier Than Thou after enjoying Buzo's first novel, but I found myself thinking it was neither as funny or as sad as the blurb would have you think. It's basically the story of a young woman's day-to-day life, from moving into a new home, to being in love, to dealing with her father's death. When you write the kind of book that is about a normal person with a fairly normal life, I just need to see a little drama, some humour, a tou
I'm afraid I could never write a review that would do this book any sort of justice. To me, it's perfect. (Hands up if you thought of that sweet guy from Love, Actually. I would totally hold that sign up for Laura Buzo*). And, to be blunt, I don't particularly want to write one. This book has a special place in my heart and it doesn't feel right to break it down into "I liked this because" or whatever.


I do want to post a quote by author Kristan Hoffman about the new adult genre. Which is e
L A i N E Y ~back in a bit~
Everything about this book feels super patchy too me: patchy pacing, patchy emotions and Holly’s voice, which was the one thing that kept me reading, was even patchy throughout.

And is it ‘normal’ for your ‘core friends’ to keep calling you “Hollier-than-thou” and actually mean it?? It’s hurtful, no?? I don’t know I found that extraordinarily weird.

But the Timbo romance was well done! Not Tim himself though, his character wasn’t explore nearly enough. I don’t even remember what sort of work he h
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
All roads lead back to Jindarra Street . . . or at least, they do for Holly Yarkov.

Holly is a social worker in the toughest town of Sydney, Elizabethtown (affectionately called ‘Befftown’). She works closely with registered nurse, Nick (affectionately called ‘Nicholarse’), and together they work the town’s toughest hood, Jindarra Street.

After Holly and Nick make a gruesome discovery at the home of one of their clients, Holly starts backtracking through her life leading up to a potential crossr
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
There is definitely something across the water in Australia, last year when I first discovered my love for Aussie authors, I felt like a little kid at Christmas getting my hands on an Aussie book. With Aussie books by greats such as Marchetta and Eagar so hard to come by, I’d save my pennies so that I could splurge on some beautiful Aussie books. I’m pleased to say my pennies were definitely worth it with Buzo’s latest gem Holier Than Thou.

Buzo manages to create such a realistic portrayal in the
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4.5 Stars

If I'm to be perfectly honest, I still don't know what to say about this novel. While I didn't love it the way I did Buzo's debut, Good Oil (now published in America under the title Love and Other Perishable Items), I feel as if I've come out of this book with a new-found respect for Laura Buzo and a wiser, more contemplative, and almost whole feeling. In so many ways, Holier Than Thou completes me. It's hard to say why, but it just does.

Holier Than Thou is one of those novels
Absolutely my kind of brilliance. Loved this and then some. Please, Laura Buzo, write more books, I could read your stuff forever xo

So incredibly, crazily excited for this. It's my fave bracket to read in, as well, new adult.
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Having fallen in love with Laura's debut novel, Good Oil,  I've been eagerly anticipating word on another book (or sequel!!!). So when I first heard of Holier Than Thou, I was bouncing. in. delight. And I'm so excited to say, Laura once again does NOT disappoint! While our main character, Holly Yarkov, is a 24 year old social worker, Holier Than Thou can easily slip into the older YA market, while still firmly securing a spot amongst New Adult titles. I think older teens can relate to Holly beca ...more
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, aussie, read-2012
Another Aussie Hit! Are you surprised? =]

My first experience with Laura Buzo’s writing was when I read her debut novel Good Oil. I fell hard for that book, so I was all sorts of excited when I heard she was coming out with another contemporary.

When I was done reading Holier Than Thou what I was left with was a ton of notes written down that included scattered thoughts, music choices, character details and all sorts of musings. It’s something I find I do quite often for books that have an impact
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sarah by: Laura
This book is so, so, so good. Though, I kind of felt depressed when I finished reading it, which is the same reaction I had after I finished Good Oil. Buzo is brilliant with dialog and I love that so, so much. It's interesting, though, that in both of her books, the male characters are tremendously flawed and kind of stunted. I'd actually love to read more about Holly (which is the same reaction I had after reading Good Oil--notice the theme here?), because her story feels like it's just begun. ...more
Bree T
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Holly Yarkov is at life-changing stage. She’s moving in with her amazing boyfriend Tim, who is like a gift from the Universe. She’s graduated from university, she has scored herself a job working in mental health, which she finds fulfilling even as she’s finding it draining. They’re the story of every government department – underfunded and understaffed. She also has a crazy appealing co-worker who supports her in every way possible, both at work and out of it.

But even though she is moving forwa
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aussie-ya
holy fucking shit was that amazing. HOLY SHIT. I want to chow down on the pages or actually shove it in my face. soooooooo good.
Re-read in December 2018
Re-read from July 1 to July 2 2013. Loved it as much as a month earlier. A pretty perfect book in my eyes. Honest, real, raw, tender, funny, sad, well-articulated and open-ended on a hopeful note. I want to quote it to pieces and I want a physical copy to keep. Affordable, international edition, where art thou?
So unbelievably real. And wonderful. So so wonderful.


Holier than thou is one of those books.
You know the ones, the books that change you in some way.
One of those books that linger's and makes you contemplate your life and all the choices you've made.
One of those books that makes you laugh and cry and everything in between.
One of those books that you feel depicts your culture with utter perfection.
One of those books with character's that you just want
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2012

Holly suppresses every feeling. Despite having recently dealt with losing her first true love/best male friend and less-recently, the death of her father after a long and painful illness, Holly hasn't allowed herself the opportunity to grieve, to get angry, to feel anything about either situation. It's through her time living with new boyfriend Tim and her time bonding with her charming co-worker Nick that Holly beings to see and understand how important it is to not only open up to other pe
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
HOLIER THAN THOU. I don’t think I could handle being a Holly Yarkov, looking at things the way she did, seeing what needs be doing and what could be done. All the things she asked of herself and of others, BIG. Was I ever her though, and have the day in and day out of my life pushed all questions like hers aside? The way things were going it felt like she was almost here with me, where it’s just the day in- day out, minus the questions.

Almost. But not quite as a lot of this is a real look at th
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sensitive, insightful, funny, clever, poetic but also authentic language of young people. These are just the first words that come to mind about 'Holier Than Thou'. But there are so many more.

Almost the best book I have read all year. (Apparently that doesn't mean much. People say that I claim that about every book I read. *shrug* whatever).

More words, specifically about Holly, who is an excellent character. She is alive and real. Full of longing and grief and wanting and loving. She fairly crac
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Fishpond, wary of my threats involving sushi knives just shipped this to me! Can't wait! ...more
May 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I don't normally write reviews on here, but I had to write something for this one because it affected me so much. What an amazing book. I enjoyed 'Good Oil' by Laura Buzo, so I knew this one would be just as good. But 'Holier Than Thou' wasn't just as good - it was BETTER. Hence why I've given it five stars.

I won't lie - I bawled my eyes out. A lot. It was towards the ending that I just couldn't stop crying, I'm not even sure what possessed me. In fact, just writing this is making me upset!!! I
Penni Russon
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fascinating in terms of genre alone, this is a YA novel with a distinctly YA arc about twenty-somethings who are all done with uni and are now out in the big bad world, but it's not everything they hoped it would be. I think it's really hard to write novels about twenty year olds because they don't have the same imposed restrictions on them as teenagers which makes them a little less interesting and it's a bit harder to end on a note of hope and optimism about the future, because the future is r ...more
Mar 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Thank you, Laura Buzo, for portraying the uncertainty of being in between quite perfectly.
Cass -  Words on Paper

My, oh my, was this review difficult to write! Holier Than Thou is a new adult title and written by Aussie author Laura Buzo, and for that alone I should have breezed through this novel without a problem. However, the topics explored in Holier Than Thou felt even more substantial than those in Good Oil (author’s debut). Which made it sometimes difficult to read, and even harder to organise my thoughts. It actually took weeks for me to finally solidify exactly how I feel for this book – I re
Apr 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
Holier Than Thou explores our early twenties: a unique time in our lives where we're just out of high school and tertiary education, working the first job, living out of home, perhaps for the first time,  maybe exploring our first 'serious' relationships. It's about Holly, who has ticked all those boxes, but is rapidly finding out the idealism we learn in high school and uni just doesn't apply in the real world.

What happens when you have everything you have ever wanted, but still find yourself u
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Laura Buzo was born and grew up in Sydney, middle of three daughters. Growing up she loved swimming, riding horses, tennis, netball, running, chocolate and above all, reading. After university, Laura worked as a social worker in various acute and community-based mental health settings in Sydney. In 2005 she took some time away from work to start writing her first novel, Good Oil. Laura is still wo ...more

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