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Steal My Sunshine

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  309 ratings  ·  38 reviews
During a Melbourne heatwave, Hannah's family life begins to distort beyond her deepest fears. It's going to take more than a cool change to fix it, but how can a girl who lives in the shadows take on the task alone? Feeling powerless and invisible, Hannah seeks refuge in the two anarchists of her life: her wild best friend, Chloe, and her eccentric grandmother, Essie, who ...more
Paperback, 333 pages
Published May 2013 by Random House Australia
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Average rating 3.63  · 
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Feb 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Gale’s first YA novel is a blend of the contemporary and historical, entwining the stories of fifteen year old Hannah, her mother Sara, and grandmother Essie.

Steal My Sunshine deals with one of the darker aspects of Australia’s history: the forced adoption of children born to unwed or ‘wayward’ girls, often at the coercion of churches, hospitals and adoption agencies. This practice of removing babies against the mothers’ will, or ‘institutionalised baby farming’, went on for around five decades
Cass -  Words on Paper
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of contemp YA & those wanting to know more about Australian history
This review has been posted on my blog.

[#1 - First impressions]


1. Aussie author

2. Contemporary + Aussie historical aspects

3. Cover

EEEEEEEEEEK!!! So excited. A copy is coming to my mailbox. :)


[#2 - Draft]



Review to come soon. [Dot-point draft below]

+ Essie's story feels so real and h
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cover-love
There are two sides to the Moon family – Hannah and her dad on one side, her mum and brother Sam on the other. It’s been that way for as long as Hannah can remember; her and dad have their Wednesday movie nights, while mum and Sam share private jokes and pet cat, Scribble.

But when her parents’ marriage reaches breaking point, and it’s Hannah’s dad that leaves, she is completely unprepared for the fallout. Mum and Sam huddle together and lean on each other, while Hannah feels isolated

Steal my Sunshine by Emily Gale is set in Melbourne. Sixteen year old Hannah Moon is dealing with her much more outgoing best friend, Chloe, and spending more time with her grandmother, Essie. When Essie reveals she has a secret to share, Hannah and Chloe get dragged into her past creating issues at home and for their friendship.

This book contains a story within a story and I found both of them riveting. It was so easy to sympathise with Hannah. She has a mother who constantly makes
MarciaB - Book Muster Down Under
It all started over an argument about the Christmas tree on the last day of the school holidays during a stinking hot February afternoon in the midst of a Melbourne heat-wave.

Beginning with Hannah's present day narration, we are introduced to this fifteen-year old girl trying to come to terms with the inner turmoil that threatens to overwhelm her as she tries to find her place in the world and her family. Constantly in Sara’s firing-line, Hannah is at a loss to understand why the rel

When I was in high school, we had an English short story assignment which had to fit the theme ‘remembrance’. Searching for inspiration, I did what I always do in a crisis and turned to The Beatles. I took Eleanor from the song Eleanor Rigby and wrote about why she might be so lonely as an elderly lady. I imagined she might have been forced to give her baby up for adoption after being sent to a Magdalene Laundry. So when I found out what Steal My Sunshine was about, there was no question I would read it. Bef

Eugenia (Genie In A Book)
This book was satisfying, full of a family mystery and the importance of finding out who you are and where you belong.

"People have to be close because they want to be, not just because they think they're part of a story they can't get out of."

Set in Melbourne, Hannah's life looks to be falling apart after her parents decide to separate. On top of that, her mum is becoming more distant and her brother doesn't seem to even notice her existence. Additionally, her friendship with the slightl/>

Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Thankyou to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC!!

This piece of fiction gives a small glimpse into the past and present impacts of forced adoption.

For such an emotionally charged subject matter, this book was extremely easy to read and not too hard on the readers emotions, and I didn't feel that this lessened or cheapened the severity of what occurred back in the 50's.

I'm Aussie born & bred, and I had no idea these things occurred here and to such a de
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
The idea behind it was really good, but it was poorly executed. I think this book would have benefited from better editing and also (Spoiler alert) the whole Sam and Chloe thing made no sense and neither did Evan and Hannah. We never really find out WHY she likes him or why he never calls her back. The pacing of the book felt off as well, for instance, the fact that the play seemed to be so relevant at the beginning and it only barely resurfaced at the very end. Even the reasons for Hannah's dad ...more
Steph Cuthbert
Emily Gale's writing is glorious and beautiful. Her imagery is vivid and poetic, and I could just drown in her words forever.
This was a really touching novel, a contemporary entwined with historical, looking at 3 generations of women and how their lives and relationships have been shaped by forced adoption.
I feel it was an ambitious story to tell, and although there are aspects that weren't resolved to my satisfaction, particularly Essie's character, Emily Gale's gorgeous writing more than mad
Kristina Patch
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Intense and unusual, layered and complex.
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not quite what I was expecting, but in a good way! Review to come.
If I can liken Steal My Sunshine to any particular holiday-related chocolate product, then it'll have to be the good old Easter egg. What appears to be one story actually turns out to be two, one nestled inside the other and revealing a whole extra layer of history, family and reconciliation. On the surface, this novel is about Hannah - a typical, if somewhat shy, teenage girl living in Me
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
Both novels for teens by Emily Gale are preoccupied with family relations. While Girl Aloud focused more on the relationship between daughter and father, Steal my Sunshine focuses on three generations of women in the Moon family. The location this time is Melbourne during a heat wave. This made it perfect to read as we’ve just had a heat wave of our own.

Hannah is an unassuming, shy girl who tries to stay out of the lime light. To compensate for her life in the shadows, she’s best friend with a
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Set during a scorching hot summer around the streets of St Kilda and inner Melbourne, "Steal my Sunshine" is this quiet, gorgeous YA novel that deals with huge, huge issues: "fallen" girls, the practice of forced adoptions, sexual and physical abuse within Church-sanctioned institutions, marriage breakdown, the terrible secrets at the heart of families that can poison relationships and accepted histories, and the havoc women can wreak upon each other's lives. There's an old, opportunistic crime ...more
It's so rare to see a young adult book set in Australia, so I was pretty dang excited for this one. When I opened it up, the font was massive. I didn't really know how well that boded i.e. whether it was for younger readers (although from the blurb, there was the promise of a bit of romance, so I wasn't too worried). What I didn't expect, however, was the book to be so absolutely riveting. It was strangely and unexpectedly compelling. I have to say that it's one of the few books I've read that h ...more
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Now I am a history person, I love modern history in highschool and would be doing it at uni if I didn't love sport and science that little bit more. Steal my sunshine is an Australian novel which is contemporary with Australian history aspects.

Hannah life is taking a turn for the worst, her father leaving, her grandmother's secret as to why her mother hates her and all this when she is just starting her final year of school. Her best friend Chloe is hiding a secret and her brother, who she has
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, ebook, for-school
As found on

The book is about Hannah and how the only people she can get along with well are her best friend Chloe and her eccentric grandmother Essie. When nothing seems to go right in her life she runs to her grandmother Essie and over a period of time hears stories about her past.

The main character Hannah is a typical teenage character, just trying to find her way in a world and discovering who she really wants to be. The relationship wi
H.J. Harper
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's a rare book that captivates me from cover to cover despite a total lack of zombies, but Steal My Sunshine did exactly that. There's a lot to love about this book - a brilliant plot full of twists and secrets that I never saw coming, and a beautifully layered sense of history that (horror of horrors!) actually taught me something without feeling like it was a history lesson.

But by far the thing that stood out for me was the characterisation: from shy-ish, unsure main character Hannah, to he
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: life-love, australian
This story is about Hannah and the uncovering of family secrets as her family falls apart, a friendship is tested, a crush is explored and also a journey of self discovery. The author cleverly explores these topic by allowing the protagonist to eventually see similarities in characters that on the surface don't seem connected. She uses stories of the past and present to define her future. It is always heart wrenching to read stories that have actions that have consequences that span generation. ...more
Chloe Hughes
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A mix of contemporary of family drama set in one Melbourne summer that flashes back to the times of when forced adoptions of unmarried pregnant women sent away to convents to hide their family's shame. Hannah's grandmother Essie was sent from England to a convent in Brisbane which is the start of the family's secrets that unravels throughout this heat wave of Melbourne's summer and on top that Hannah is dealing with her crush on wild best friend Chloe's older brother Evan.
Hannah and Chloe are o
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful, understated YA novel by Emily Gale, centered around main character Hannah and her attempts to navigate her way through conflicts within her family, and friendship with rebel-best-friend Chloe.

What I really appreciated about this book was the way Gale manages to capture the complexities and human floors within each of the characters, so that they are real, rather than always likeable.
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, 2013-aussie-ya
I gave this 5 stars because of the way that Essie's story is so poignantly told. I am old enough to remember the disgrace that was attributed to girls who fell pregnant and found this story quite heart rending. Hannah's modern day story is cleverly intertwined and the family dynamics are very though provoking.
Rania T
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lovely young adult novel where the protagonist Hannah delves into her grandmother Essie's past and things are not always what they seem. The author seems to be very familiar with the St. Kilda area of Melbourne, where much of the story is set, and serves as a wonderful backdrop to many of the themes that are explored within.
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it
A book about parents breaking up and teenagers dealing with it as well as a family secret. Hannah is struggling with her life and turns to her grandmother, finding out some fairly amazing information. It is a good read, even if it does seem a bit over the top.
Oct 12, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 18, 2013 rated it liked it
It was an interesting book, with a unique story line. Hannah was such a diverse character and Essie oozed character and had such an intriguing soul. There were quite a few surprises that I didn't expect but that helped me enjoy the book!
An interestng and multi-layered story that needed a little more substance at the end, but was overall an enjoyable read.
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fantastic, unexpected surprise.
Aug 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
this is one of the worst books i have ever read. DO NOT READ unless insane.
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow this was amazing. So very good, dark, sad, but then so real and uplifting. Great work from a fellow Em :-)
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Emily Gale is a book-nerd who has worked in the children’s & YA book industry for nearly twenty years. In London she worked as an editor for Penguin and Egmont, and later as a freelance manuscript consultant and pre-school book writer. In Melbourne she's worked with literary agent Sheila Drummond, finding new children’s and YA authors; she has reviewed for Bookseller and Publisher, been a judg ...more