Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Clancy of the Undertow” as Want to Read:
Clancy of the Undertow
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Clancy of the Undertow

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  384 ratings  ·  103 reviews
We’re sitting there with matching milkshakes, Sasha and me, and somehow, things aren’t going like I always thought they would. We’re face to face under 24-hour fluorescents with the thoroughly unromantic buzz of aircon in our ears and endless flabby wedges of seated trucker’s arsecrack as our only visual stimulus.

In a dead-end town like Barwen a girl has only got to be a l
Paperback, 282 pages
Published November 16th 2015 by Text Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Clancy of the Undertow, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Clancy of the Undertow

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  384 ratings  ·  103 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Clancy of the Undertow
Sarah Elizabeth
(I received a digital copy of this book for free. Thanks to Text Publishing and NetGalley.)

“Your dad’s been involved in an accident,”

This was a YA contemporary story featuring a gay main character.

Clancy was an alright character but I didn’t really get her obsession with the town’s resident ‘hot’ girl Sasha, who she didn’t really know at all. The way she hung around the park so that she could watch her with her boyfriend was a little odd.

The storyline in this was about Clancy’s day-t
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Clancy is a remarkable young woman, the voice of the Australian teen who never quite feels as though she fits into our world. She's strong, sassy but also scared of her town finding out that she's gay, especially her judgmental peers who already see her as an anomaly. Her father works for the local council where his back injury has left him with the mundane position of directing traffic through roadworks. Until one night when two local teens run off the road in a fatal accident and Clancy's fath ...more
Just like every night! I want to say, right before a raucous studio audience whoops and hollers and I stand there with my hands on my hips: the end of another successful episode of Sassy Smart Girl Who Actually Is a Big Hit in the Romance Department, Despite What You May Think.

Yassssss, contemporary story set in Australia with an LGBT protagonist? Sign me the fuck up.

Meet Clancy. She’s sixteen years old. A misfit. A daughter and a sister, both of the big and little variety. She’s having trouble
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
‘Clancy of the Undertow’ is a new contemporary YA novel from Australian author, Christopher Currie.

So strange that on the day I set aside to write my review of ‘Clancy’, I was getting all sorts of ping-alerts about this YA author Scott Bergstrom who had, advertently or inadvertently (but either way: stupidly), dissed the entire YA readership by claiming that his self-published YA novel (which recently had film rights bought by Jerry Bruckheimer) was more “morally complicated” than anything else
Finn Longman
I can’t remember what drew me to this book when I requested it on NetGalley – I think it was one of those random requests based on cover and genre, and by the time I got around to reading it, I’d forgotten any small amount of info provided on the blurb and didn’t have the internet access to look it up again. (Oh, the joys of reading review copies while on holiday.) Thus, the whole thing was a surprise, but thankfully, a nice one.

The first thing I noticed about the book was that it’s very Austral
Paula Vince
This YA novel tackles some really sensitive themes and issues in an Australian small town setting. Clancy Underhill is a 15-year-old girl who quietly deals with feelings of being an outcast. Not only is she a member of the nature club, a fringe group regarded as nerds by more popular students, but she has secret homosexual leanings. Clancy has a crush on Sasha, the pretty girlfriend of Buggs, the town bully. Her problems are compounded when her father, a road worker who assists with traffic flo ...more
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Got girls in your family or library, but this book. What a blimmin marvel it is. Strong girl characters and ballsy misfits, nothing not to love here. Clancy is in the middle of a family crisis, her Dad has been involved in the death of 2 teens who had a car crash, he is under huge stress, her mum is not coping well. Her older brother seems to have become a wastrel and a stray and her younger brother is obsessively playing video games. They haven't communicated in ages and this new thing hasn't h ...more
Paula Weston
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a brilliant read. Clancy of the Undertow (awesome title) is painful, beautiful and funny, and written with incredible wit and insight. It delivers the kind of raw honesty that makes Australian YA so real and relatable.

Yes, it features a teenage girl coming to terms with her sexuality - handled with remarkable sensitivity. It’s also a study of the complexity of friendship and family. I loved the changing dynamic between Clancy and her brother Angus (and their un-PC banter), and her frequentl
Amy Lou
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know why, but I really didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did. And as I recall, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was a bit unexpected, although I totally knew what the thing with Sasha was going to be. Honestly, I was just super pleased with it. Not everything in life turns out perfect, and not everyone in life will be kind or reasonable, even your idols. It’s hard to realize that sometimes, but it happens to everyone. Clancy had a very unique and interesting writing style, which defin ...more
I heard this mentioned at a YA event that I attended for work at the beginning of December, and was intrigued about it. I saw it at Dymocks on Monday and resisted, figuring that I'd just order a copy for work next year. But when I went back to Dymocks for something on Tuesday, it accidentally on purpose ended up in my pile of purchases and WHOOPS NOW I OWN IT.

So obviously, I was going to pick it up immediately.

First things first - I love the title and its play on Banjo Paterson's Clancy of the
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've really enjoyed this book. Clancy is this adolescent girl who feels she doesn't fit, that she is a weirdo and that people might be whispering behind her back. And what's more: she is gay and doesn't know how to come to terms with it or talk about it.
Amidst all the drama of being an adolescent, she is worried about her dad as he was sort of involved in an accident where two adolescents died and the whole town is airing its opinion about it.

The pace of the book is great, and I loved this feeli
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: in-english, 2016
I don’t know what to write about this book. It was an easy read with a good pace. I liked Clancy’s sarcastic notes and I wrote few of them down in hope to use them one day in my real life, haha.

I expected struggling about her sexual orientation or some lesbian action when this book comes under glbt theme but she was okay with it and except one kiss there wasn’t much to this theme. I would say the story is more about her family drama and friendship than glbt theme.

Oh, I love the cover.
I rec
Cheska the Great is Not Okay
Reminded me a lot of The Flywheel by Erin Gough, which is another Aussie YA novel with a lesbian protagonist.

I loved Clancy and her personality, as well as the sibling dynamic between her and Angus.

I didn't really understand what her dad's "situation" had to do with her being gay, as these two story arcs felt like they belonged to two separate books and the former stopped being relevant halfway through the novel, but whatever. Somehow Currie made it work, and it worked beautifully.
The "lonely-person-who-is-also-gay-with-a-pathetic-life-and-no-one-to-care-about-them" seems to be the theme of most YA novels these days.

All have the same content: their life is a great injustice and they seem to do nothing right. And ends with everything being fine, learning to appreciate their lives and learning a lesson out of the worst.
Frankly speaking, its too repetitive and dull.

The authors really need to bring something new on the market.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-to-review
(I received a copy from Netgalley, In exchange for an honest review.)

Actual rating - 2.75

I didn't love Clancy, but she was an okay character.

This bored me quite early on unfortunately, so it wasn't one I can say I really enjoyed. Any parts that managed to gain a bit more of my interest didn't last long, and the book dragged in areas for me because of it.

Overall, Not awful, but not a very enjoyable one for me.
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one! I related to Clancy on a number of different levels -- being gay in a fairly close-minded town, being poor but not poverty-stricken, and feeling completely and utterly helpless in a whirlwind of stuff she can't change. This was also a super Aussie read, which I loved, of course, and I really liked the threads of friendship underneath all the angst.

Loved this quirky Australian YA novel.

Update: Review has now been posted at Reading Time.
Margot McGovern
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Life in small town Queensland has always been tough for sixteen-year-old Clancy Underhill. She’s a loner. Doesn’t fit. That she’s forced to get around on a bike several sizes too small and can’t afford to replace her one pair of ratty boots doesn’t help. Neither does having an older brother who’s dropped out of uni to track down the mythical Beast of Barwen. Or the fact that Clancy likes girls.

However, Clancy’s problems are overshadowed when her dad is involved in a car crash that leaves two tee
Christine Bongers
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aussie-ya
I really enjoyed this funny, quirky and beautifully written story about about a sixteen year old outsider fumbling her way out of the closet in a rural Australian backwater called Barwen. There are some gorgeous characterisations (every scene with Reeve, the security guard, and Eloise, the beauty salesperson at the local shopping centre, is a winner). And the complex family relationships - particularly with her conspiracy-theorist older brother - are evoked with great warmth and eye for detail. ...more
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Accomplished YA novel about a teenager coming to terms with her sexuality in a stifling country town.
Paul Grose
Mar 11, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable read with the pace lifting for the final act. As part of the cannon of YA novels dealing with issues of diversity this work does not break any new ground. Its strength though can be found in appreciating the work as a fine example of literature that reflects the values,and experiences of young adults who are dealing with issues such as isolation,detachment and alienation. This work offers them the opportunity to identify with a young protagonist that is strong and determine ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 10, 2016 rated it liked it
What a quick and easy read. It's a good book to read when you're feeling a little ill and just need something to do. Not to say that this book doesn't deserve to be read at other times, because it totally does.

Australian YA with a queer protagonist! How could anyone pass on it?

Clancy is sixteen, that angsty age where no one feels like they fit in. For Clancy, in some backwater Aussie town in Queensland, it's pretty true. The only thing she has going for her is the Nature Club, where she goes a
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received this book from Text Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Clancy is sixteen and lives in Barwen, where she is most commonly known as the misfit who also happens to have a ‘dysfunctional family’. Clancy is trying to figure out who she is and has a great interest in the town’s Nature Club and also has a big crush on the town’s local ‘popular’ girl, Sasha.
Just as summer begins, Clancy’s father is involved in a car accident that kills two well-known loc
(Thank you Netgalley for the ARC!)

This is a charming coming-of-age story with a unique Australian back-burner town as the backdrop.

Clancy is expecting this summer to be just like all other summers: she’ll work, avoid her family and long after the gorgeous cool-girl Sasha. But then her father plays a part in an accident that kills two teenagers, and Clancy’s world starts falling apart. Is this the kind of tragedy that will finally break her family? Or bring them closer together?

In the midst of t
Carolyn Gilpin
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loveozya
On a recent Twitter chat #YAChat, the subject was friendship in books. A common theme in responses was that friendship in YA was equally important to romance. And I have to say that Currie pulls this off beautifully, in a book about a 16 year old loner.

Clancy feels like she can get nothing right in her life, especially not friendship or fashion. She lives in a small town, and she's not the only one who thinks her family is weird. Then her dad is involved in a road accident that may or may not be
The Bookish  Gardener
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Behind every story is another story. And my story behind this book is one of starting this book, questioning it, losing it and missing it.
Somehow during the palaver that is packing up from Christmas holiday camping, Clancy and I became separated. On my return home, I tipped every bag upside down, even unpacked the tents and packed them up again, in the off-chance Clancy was tucked away inside. No luck.
With great embarrassment and remorse, I fronted up to the library and fessed up. They gave me a
Lily D
May 08, 2016 added it
I finished Clancy of The Undertow and I actually found it quite sad. I ended up feeling really bad for Clancy yet she somehow managed to be so relate able in her discovery to find herself. I found it really interesting to see how she dealt with all her set backs, her dad, Sasha, and just her journey of discovering what she values. Although the book was unrealistic in the sense that luckily I could not see myself in those positions, Currie's ability to hook me on until the end was due to the emot ...more
Liz Barr
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to be honest: when this book first came out, I was like, "A straight white guy writing a novel about a lesbian (with Indigenous ancestry)? That cannot possibly end well."

But then it started getting good reviews, including from people whose judgement I trust, and finally I cracked and got it from the library. And loved it.

It's not perfect -- Clancy's Indigenous heritage seems a bit pastede on (but what would I know, she asked, pointing to her own pasty white skin) -- but it captures t
Tanya Grech Welden
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have read quite a few YA books falling within the LGBTQIA category, and while there seems to be a abundance of these right now, many of them are badly written. While there seem to be a few authors writing these stories, most seem to write exclusively for gay teens. Indeed there is a need for authors to meet the needs of some readers who want something other than hetero-normative fiction, However, all teens, irrespective of their sexuality are dealing with, and making sense of LGBTQIA issues in ...more
« previous 1 3 4 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • I Was Born for This
  • Cracked
  • My Sister Rosa
  • Fans of the Impossible Life
  • The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling
  • The Flywheel
  • This Taste for Silence
  • Lucky Strikes
  • Laurinda
  • It Looks Like This
  • We Come Apart
  • Floored
  • Pyramid of Secrets
  • Sawkill Girls
  • Gravity Is the Thing
  • American Monsters (Demon Road, #3)
  • The Luminous Dead
  • The Secret Year
See similar books…
I am a Brisbane-based writer, bookseller and blogger. My first YA novel, 'Clancy of the Undertow', will be in bookshops from November 16!

My first novel, 'The Ottoman Motel'was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and the Queensland Literary Awards in 2012.

I am a slow-moving target.

Related Articles

As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young ...
66 likes · 18 comments