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A Small Madness

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  379 ratings  ·  82 reviews
Rose didn't tell anyone about it. She wondered if it showed. She looked at herself in the mirror and turned this way and then that way. She stood as close to the mirror as she could, leaning over the bathroom basin, looking into her own eyes until they disappeared behind the fog of her breath. Looking for something. Some evidence that she was different now. Something had s ...more
Paperback, 231 pages
Published February 1st 2015 by Allen & Unwin
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Average rating 3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  379 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
Actual Rating: 3.5

This review appears on Happy Indulgence - check it out for more reviews!

A Small Madness packs a punch in its short length. Going into the book without knowing anything about it, really had me unprepared for the emotional journey ahead. This is not an easy read. But it’s an important one.

It all starts from one small mistake: unprotected sex leading into teenage pregnancy. The book does not hold back on the gory details, and explores every single consequence right through to the
Rose and Michael are in love. They’ve been dating for ages, and they’re in the final year of high-school. He’s going to be a doctor, she’s going to be an actress, and they already know they’re going to get married.

Rose had been pretending to be someone else the day that Michael decided he loved her. She was in the middle of dress rehearsal for the school play, standing on the stage in the school gym, her voice ricocheting off the polished boards with an intensity that set his bones ringing like
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
‘A Small Madness’ is the new contemporary young adult novel from Australian author Dianne Touchell, whose debut novel ‘Creepy & Maud’ was CBCA-shortlisted.

I’m sort of going to tell you what this book’s about. It’s not really clear from the blurb or cover … but I don’t know how to praise it without telling you a little bit.

Rose and Michael started dating, “almost by accident,” but when we first meet them they’re having sex for the first time because they’re in love and ready. Afterwards Ros
Read this review and more on my blog

Actual Rating: 2.5

In a nutshell: A Small Madness is a confronting and powerful story that really will get people talking, but I don't think that it was personally my cup of tea.

Honestly, this is going to be one of the most difficult reviews I've ever written. It's been a few days since I finished reading A Small Madness but I'm still so conflicted. On one hand, I appreciate what the author did and the powerful themes of the book. Yet I also felt quite uncomfo
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it

" The heat was over, along with summer. They walked the dunes in a flush of new shyness, talking of the beginning of their last year of high school."

Rose and Michael have just had sex for the first time, they are in love and shyly thrilled with their new intimacy. In the heat of the moment they forgot to use a condom, just twice, but as each others first, Michael's older brother assures him, at least they don't have to worry about disease.
Two months later, Rose counts the days in her student di

Opens: He’d eaten an orange.

My Thoughts: I finished A SMALL MADNESS by Dianne Touchell a few days ago and have been mulling over my review ever since. I worry that I am not going to do it the justice it deserves, so in a nutshell – WOW, fabulous, thought provoking, confronting, heartbreaking, unputdownable, all in all an absolutely amazing story about teen pregnancy, family relationships and mental issues. I have already earmarked as one of my top reads for this year, if not the top one!! So tho
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)

Please note, this review contains spoilers. It's a sensitive subject, so please read at your own peril. I have chosen not to rate A Small Madness, due to the emotional content and how this book effected me personally.

(view spoiler)
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angel - Angel Reads
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received A Small Madness by Dianne Touchell from Allen and Unwin in exchange for a review. This has in no way influenced my thoughts and feelings about the book.
As soon as I saw A Small Madness, in the Allen and Unwin catalogue quite a couple of months ago, I knew I needed this book in my hands and boy I wasn’t disappointed.
The synopsis of A Small Madness doesn’t give too much away, but it gives the reader just enough so they are pulled right in.
I cannot explain how heartbreaking, enriching
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a strange, surreal, bizarre, fucked up kind of novel. Having said that, I think it wavers between a 3 and a 4 for me on the old star rating chart.

I can't exactly decide how to feel about it. It was like falling into this dark, twisted hole and not being about to get out again. Full credit to the writing -- you can definitely feel the mounting pressure and panic and all of it.

Very strange. Very scary. Brilliant writing in parts, though.
Aug 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: aussie-ya
More of my reviews can be found at Flipping Through the Pages!

This book is aptly named. It was a small book and it drove me mad reading it (and not in the "ohmygodthisbookiscrazyawesome way either").

I picked this up as part of the Shattering Stigmas event hosted by the lovely ladies mentioned in this post. After reading the vague description on the back and seeing it had contacts for Beyond Blue and other helplines for pregnancy and depression, I didn't really have any idea of what to expect fro
Olivia (Bookcomet)
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
My head hurts so badly right now. It's expected since it was ONLY TWISTED TO EPIC PROPORTIONS.

There just aren't words for what this book made me go through. Thank goodness for that, actually.

A Small Madness tells the story of a girl named Rose. I will warn you, that if you are really uncomfortable with the topic of teen pregnancy or particularly, sex, in books then I'm telling you now that you will not be comfortable with this book. This is a raw, gritty portrayal of teen pregnancy and the aut
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A Small Madness, Dianne Touchell’s profoundly honest novel about a teenage girl and boy struggling to conceal pregnancy, targets young adults while reminding older readers of their own unwanted pregnancies.

As I read it, so much of what she writes taps into my own experience of being pregnant at fifteen, as it does the final lines in ‘Honesty’, the first poem in A Circle in a Room Full of Squares (2003), a collection of students’ poetry, short stories, art and photography that I collated and edit
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, 2015-read, 4star
A Small Madness by Dianne Touchell begins with a fresh beginning for Rose, a teenager in her last year of high school. A new sexual experience has her feeling like a woman and she looks over herself to see how much she's changed because of it. She and her boyfriend Michael have each made plans for their own future. Her intentions are to become an actress and he is looking to become a doctor. So, when she's pregnant, she doesn't want her life to change and she refuses to believe any of the eviden ...more
Emily Mead
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it
So basically I don't know what to think.

I just...hmm.

It's going to be extremely difficult to review this. In a lot of ways it reminded me of The Minnow, in that it was shocking and confronting and somewhat confusing.

I'm still confused about that ending.

But also it had a lot of depth and I stayed up late reading it because I had to know what happens. Make of that what you will.


It’s not for everyone, I’ll say that now.

Basically, it’s about teen pregn
Yu Xuan
Dec 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I got this ARC from FirstReads

Rating: 3.5 stars

Basically, A Small Madness is about a girl that gets pregnant and loads of implications occur as a result.
When reading this book, there were many times where I just had to stop and think over the events happening. This was darker than books I normally read. Nevertheless, it was still good.

What I liked:

The characters were REAL PEOPLE. They were far from perfect and I could relate to how they felt in certain situations. Best of all, their r
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing

There are many things to admire about this excellent novel — A Small Madness. Firstly, the fact, that it’s not only suitable for young adults, but for older readers as well. For me, a significant amount of the success of this powerful yet sensitively told story is Dianne Touchell's prose, or turn of phrase. She manages to deftly strike a balance between writing prose which can be either, surprisingly light and witty or alternatively dark and contemplative—but always engaging. The story rings tru
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book through Goodreads Giveaways.

I previously read Creepy and Maud, by the same author, and found it disappointing and lacking something. A Small Madness doesn't lack anything and draws the reader in straight away. I liked the characters because they felt real - real people in real situations. It’s refreshing for teen characters, and adult characters, to feel like real people. A Small Madness is incredibly well written and will keep readers enthralled right from the first senten
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Confronting, raw, unflinching look at an unplanned teenage pregnancy and its consequences. Very powerful and not afraid to make its characters unlikeable (but realistic) - there was something of a Friday Night Lights quality to it. Also an eloquent illustration of the danger in society's tendency to deny what we don't like/want to see.

ETA: recommended for those with a strong stomach and willing to read confronting material; a very 'adult' YA; not escapist
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-great-reads
This is a beautifully written story for young adults about the perils of unprotected sex and the dangers of keeping the truth hidden. Michael and Rose are both good children, but neither of them feel they have anyone to turn to when a pregnancy results from their first sexual experience. Told in alternating chapters by Michael and Rose this is a tragic story. Set in Melbourne, this would be a great book for discussion. Recommended.
Book Bazaar
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Compelling YA fiction. A hidden pregnancy and the ramifications as everything unravels.
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A heartbreakingly complex issue but an important tale to tell. Must read
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I, originally enticed by this book's appealing cover, read a couple of pages and then decided it was a bit miserable for the moment (after a long string of sad, whining books, I wanted something just slightly cheerful).

Recently, I was back in the library and actually decided to borrow it, my original impression was right, it is a particularly melancholy book.

I think the subject matter of this book is extremely relevant and important - a topic rarely addressed with candor in pop culture.

Some of t
 "The back pain was a welcome distraction. It wasn't a sharp pain so much as a dull, drawing ache like a fish hook in a the base of her spin being occasionally tugged."
- Dianne Touchell, A Small Madness

I will say that I really enjoy Dianne Touchell writing style. The metaphors and similes she used throughout the book were subtle yet powerful. This writing was dangerous and ugly but at the same time beautiful.

At times the book was disturbing and the characters were an unlikable bunch with no ca
Brianna Noelle
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Really like a 2.5 for me but I rated lower because I did not LOVE the writing style. It felt really choppy to me, and some parts were hard to read through because of it. However, I finished for the story, which I really enjoyed. It was very unlike the usual teen pregnancy tropes and definitely had some shock value for me. I do wish that the ending wasn't left so open!! I'd love to know what happened to the characters.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I loved reading this book. It was so well written and heartfelt. I particularly enjoyed the seamless transitions between the perspectives of the characters. Rose and Michael most definitely went through unbelievable hardship when she got pregnant, but I must say, they were accountable non the less. However, I liked the path this novel took.
Sami Henderson
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I did not know what to expect when I started this book. This is not your normal teenage pregnancy read, however it is a powerful narrative and a possible reality. The length is short and sweet, whilst the content is anything but.

The first I have read of Dianne Touchell's, and certainly not the last.
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Haunting in its honesty about events that spiral out of control to a horrible conclusion. Touchell brings to life realistic characters who you want to cheer for but can’t as you lost all hope. Highly recommended.
Sophie Payne
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Pretty fast paced and thought provoking. But that ending was far too open for my liking.
Yugantika Mohapatra
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
It leaves you with a story that is hauntingly maddening but also pretty.
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Dianne Touchell is a middle child who feared Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy — and any other stranger who threatened to break into the house at night.

She has worked, amongst other things, as a nightclub singer, a fish and chip shop counter girl (not with Pauline Hanson) and a bookseller. Dianne would rather talk to her dog than answer the phone.