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The Big Smoke

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chan ...more
Paperback, 414 pages
Published October 2012 by Createspace
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3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  74 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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A. Bookzilla.
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, clean-read
I really enjoyed this, it was too cute. Usually I wouldn't read it because the blurb did nothing for me, but I have to say that despite knowing better I was being shallow and let the cover persuade me. It's just too pretty, all artsy and colorful like that.

Both Ceara and Seb are wonderful characters, and they have so much going on I was constantly worried they wouldn't pull through. Two teens, finally going into adulthood and trying to be independent, but not quite realizing they're there yet. S
Nov 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Big Smoke was a very interesting read for me. When I received the review request, I was hooked at the words "Australia" and "Contemporary New Adult". That's pretty much all I needed to give the book a try.

I thought The Big Smoke would be primarily a love story. The story of Seb and Ceara, adjusting to university life and falling in love. But what I got was two parallel stories, told simultaneously, of two people who were troubled by issues from the past, each making their way and learning v
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book sneaks up on you, grabs you by the throat, and doesn’t let you go until the last page. When I picked it up I was tired of reading material for young adults, or new adults, for that matter, that consists of a series of ‘then this happened and then that happened’ statements. The Big Smoke boldly sets itself against the current trend of shallow character development and over reliance on plot. What the reader finds instead is an organic development of connections, entanglements and emotion ...more
Charity Bradford
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm going to be honest here and say that originally I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this. I wasn't sure it was going to be "my thing" by the blurb. For that reason, it means a lot more when I say I REALLY enjoyed this. Once you read you'll realize how brilliant the cover is and why the characters are sketched in.

This is a story about two people who want something very much, but it's the wrong thing. How many times have we been in the same place in our lives? The Big Smoke is a coming of age s
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's a long time since I was the age of Seb and Ceara but Cally Jackson's writing took me back to those days when I was trying to find my way the world, desperately wanting to fit in. Cally has written each character in the first person which invites the reader into their hearts and minds. I've read this book twice and even the second time, knowing what to expect I had tears streaming down my face on the bus and people staring at me wondering what was wrong. This is the mark of excellent writing ...more
Michael Offutt
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I received an Advanced Reader Edition of Cally Jackson's debut novel, and I read it in just a few days. It was THAT good. As a warning I want to say that my review may contain some spoilers, because I can't think of a way of talking about this tale without discussing what goes on in Ceara and Seb's lives.

"The Big Smoke" has two narrators. We've seen this plenty of times before most notably used by William Faulkner in "Absalom, Absalom." However, it is also used to great effect by George R.R. Mar
Rachel Morgan
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
THE GOOD: Relationships, romance, drama, humour, heartbreak, coming of age--this book has a lot packed into it! It's a long book. Not long in a this-story-is-dragging-on-forever-I-wish-it-would-end kinda way. No, no, no. Long in a I-scored-two-awesome-books-in-one kinda way!! The chapters alternate between Seb and Ceara, two very different characters with distinctive voices. They're heading off to university with all their hopes, dreams, fears and expectations--which is already a lot to deal wit ...more
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's 2002 and Seb and Ceara are destined for each other, they just don't know it yet. Jackson does a great job of getting into her male and female characters' heads and showing us their anxieties about rites of passages such as moving into your first apartments (no dorms in Australia, apparently) getting your first job away from home, learning to drive in the big city, and making new friends. The authorial hand is very light and the action grows organically from the actions of the characters. Th ...more
Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was introduced to this book through an article about Cally Jackson on the intranet at work, but after reading the first two chapters I went straight to Amazon and bought the e-book. I'm a bit past the age range of Seb and Ceara, but Cally's vivid writing brought back those angst-filled uni days where you're trying to figure out who you are and what you want and deal with massive changes in your life, while having to deal with the stresses of studying at the same time.

I really liked Seb and Cea
Mim Davies
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! At first I thought I might be too old to enjoy this novel but it sure took me back to my uni days. The characters were portrayed so perfectly. I remember those feelings of loneliness, betrayal, self worth, love and doubt.

I was on the edge of my seat reading faster and faster and getting annoyed when the 2 characters that I had gotten to know so well throughout the story kept missing each other.

It's a well written story of fate and chance, of love and lust, of self doubt and
Su Williams
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Su by: Cally Jackson
The Big Smoke by Cally Jackson was an honest look at two 'new adults' launching into college. Each character (male and female) was given individual voice. The issues were definitely issues that young adults face these days. A good read!
Zoe and the Edge
Feb 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Zoe and the Edge by: Ari Bookzilla
Um...what the heck?

This was awesome...and then it was terrible...and then it was awesome again...and then it was terrible...and then it was awesome and I was so sad it ended.

It's actually really fun to read a book that takes place in your own country with the Australian slang and your own trees.
The setting is the best thing about this book. The characters are pretty good even though they get into all sorts of ridiculous situations. I liked that they're real people and crazy stuff does go down
Anne Moffat
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'll admit I know Cally - BUT...this was a totally great book on it's own merits. It had me laughing, crying (yep - true) and really revelling in the uni life of Brisbane a decade or so back (I am sure I almost got run over on the same street). The characters are so real you will swear you knew them in your 20s. Their experiences are so raw and so detailed, it's like living them yourself. And perhaps that's the best bit of this book. Most of these experiences we have all had in our own way. Perh ...more
Tamara Pratt
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this read. It was for my teenage daughters at the time I purchased it, but I read the book in a few days' straight, and have only just handed it over to them now! It's a great coming of age tale based on the story of two young adults finding independence and belonging in a big city, and I thoroughly enjoyed my journey with them. For all readers, young and old.
Laura Diamond
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I don't read a lot of contemporary, but I sure am glad I read this book! Cally does a fabulous job of weaving each character's life throughout the story, building momentum right until the last page. Her characters are authentic, real people. I feel like I've know them forever.

A must read!
Secretly Adorkable Readers
I will give this 3 1/2 stars.........A good Aussie book. I didn't realize that till after I downloaded it so learned a little Aussie jargon along the way.

This was a very long novel between Seb & Ceara POV's. This isn't a normal hot romance that is between the two characters, it's about them going thru their own personal experiences before they have their own together (meaning they aren't together for only about 8% out of a 415 pages of the book.)

I still enjoyed the story throughout. It was
Margaret Lehmann
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Once into “The Big Smoke”, it was hard to put down. I found it an engrossing story of moving into adulthood. The characters grow with the narrative and one cares a lot about what happens to them.

In a nutshell, it was a great read.

And will be a great Xmas gift for the late teens and early 20’s.
Apr 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: new-adult, 2013-reads
This is not a romance novel. It is a coming of age book about two different people who have several chance connections with only one encounter. It's good for what it is and we see character growth by the end. I would just have liked to see these two interact with each other sooner rather later.

Dini Annav
Jul 05, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Corey Kervin
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Apr 25, 2013
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Manuel Redona
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Nov 10, 2014
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Nov 26, 2012
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Dec 05, 2012
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Jul 12, 2013
rated it it was ok
Feb 13, 2014
Aimee Salter
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Sep 25, 2012
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Cally Jackson grew up in the small country town of Gatton. After deciding at 17 that a Hollywood acting career was sadly out of reach, Cally turned to a career in professional communication and is currently employed by the government.

Cally’s passion for fictional writing first emerged in grade two when she got in trouble for penning her own tale instead of copying directly from a story book as she
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