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The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  106 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Vanessa (Van) Partridge is curious about the idea of having sex. But she can't tell anyone. And no one would believe her anyway - because everyone knows she's a goody-two-shoes. But over the summer holidays, Van rebels and everything changes.

At first it feels like delicious freedom as she explores her independence, practising her favourite cello pieces, reconnecting with
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Allen & Unwin (first published 2018)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  106 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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I loved this. By that I mean, I entirely and utterly loved this.

Aleks Stapmanns
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant book that somehow manages to capture exactly what being a teenager is like while also covering topics like sexuality, sexism, consent, racism and environmentalism, while still being beautifully funny and heartbreaking. I loved this book and I think all young women would benefit from it, it's not often you get a character openly exploring their inner-most thoughts while also questioning why society condemns those thoughts. It's a book that makes you think. And laugh. And cry. I think ...more
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
A novel written by an Australian author, The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge follows Van, a high school student who is exploring her sense of self and the different relationships around her including friends and family.

I have to admit, this novel did not make a huge impact on me- I can hardly remember most of the story now that I'm writing this review a month or so after I read the book. I remember it feeling as if it was being pitched at the level of a somewhat younger YA reader, probably
Sarria Butler
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heather Gallagher
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
If only I had Vanessa to learn from in those giddy dark age days when I had so much to learn about boys and sex and the whole damn thing (God knows, Sweet Dreams never covered this territory!). This is a thought provoking novel that covers issues of consent. There's an early experience for Van which is kind of an experiment that goes too far and I think that's something many young women will relate to. I loved the music sub-plot. And as my 16-year-old daughter would say Darith (the crush) sounde ...more
Liz Derouet
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book, well written with humour while exploring serious issues. My review will appear on the Reading Time website. ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written and absolutely engaging and funny. I loved every bit of this book.
Is one I would highly recommend every 14/15+ year old teenager to read.

Deals with a lot of issues and the author has managed to weave it all together extremely well. I loved Van, and related to her on a huge level. And all the background characters were really well filled out and very multi dimensional.
Wonderful, marvellous, funny, sad, gripping, cathartic...

Great characters, who I feel very strongly about. I love Van; I want to slap her dad; I'd happily watch her brother Ash and his friend Darith play cricket or go swimming...

Beautiful settings - the elegant splendour of Shearwater house, the sand dunes (poor Tim!), the cliffs, the ocean, the funny little caravan park...

I love how the book raises lots of questions in the most natural way, because they're part of life and Van is full of thou
Aug 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Unfortunately I couldn't finish this book. For me it didn't capture what being a teenager is like. I read the blurb and thought I'd have a lot in common with the main character, Van, but I couldn't connect with her. I love to see Australian authors writing in a setting that I can relate to but for some reason this book just wasn't for me. It had all the ingredients to be a great YA but I couldn't get past the first 100 pages ...more
Alison Evans
tw: rape and sexual assault

A bit slow to start off but by the end I really loved Van and wanted her to be happy and safe. The book deals a lot with sexuality and consent and there is a lot of discussion of sexual assault as well as an attempted rape scene.

It's a really important book and I'm so glad it's out there.
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was so disappointed in this book. The premise is filled with so much potential, and, personally, something unusual but perfectly necessary in YA. If you're not into a detailed review; don't bother reading this book. It isn't worth your time. But alas. I must waffle on.

Unfortunately, the book was executed pretty poorly. The characters were snooty and privileged - and even when countered with it, didn't really approach that with any real empathy/sympathy or intellect. And sure, they're 15. But i
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge is a very vivid book with lots of depth and deep meanings. Vanessa is a perfectionist with a very shy manner to begin with. You then discover that she is not what she seems and her home life is very much the opposite of how she displays herself at school. There are some adult themes in this book, so I would recommend it to the 13+ age group. The author has portrayed the character of Vanessa Partridge as a very interesting person, who constantly surprises ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a fabulous read! I really couldn’t stop reading it!
I love Vanessa with all her feelings, thoughts, quirky, philosophical nature and lust for life. I loved the writer’s style of writing and got so involved I found myself laughing or smiling, gasping and shedding a tear at times. It’s a complex book that deals with a lot but you feel richly satisfied on finishing it. I really loved it!!!!
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book. Books written about teenagers often feel very cliched but Vanessa was realistic and interesting. It felt so in tune with that teenage discomfort and figuring out who you are. All the characters were well written, even those that don’t appear often. There was a level of complexity within the themes and the characters but it never felt heavy handed. Fantastic read.
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A nice book to read over the weekend. Certainly doesn't leave a lasting impact, but it's an enjoyable piece, with fantastic writing. Not much special but nothing terribly wrong about it either. I'd love to read another book by Strahan, with perhaps a more investable plot. ...more
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australian
I was not expecting this book to blow me away, and it wasn't like there were huge plot lines that kept you turning pages, but I felt all of the characters feelings like a punch, especially towards the end of the book, and it was a tiny bit awful in that really excellent way. ...more
Maddy Smith

kinda just wish she actually said the things though.

looking back, lots of poinient topics covered.
Margi Smith
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good read
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
4.5 stars!
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it
A book full of liberation. I enjoyed it and it was a good quick read. Some choppy writing and sometimes confusing plot-lines but overall I thought it was a good book.
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Vanessa loves playing her cello and working hard at school to please her father. Her mother is unreachable – but at least she has her older brother for company. But she’s having fantasies about Dar, the guy she’s known for ages. Can Vanessa reconcile being a ‘good girl’ with wanting to grow up?

This is a sex-positive novel that doesn’t shy away from the fact that young women feel like sex just as much as young men are often depicted as doing so! It’s ok for Vanessa to feel like having sex, and it
Belinda Fletcher
rated it really liked it
Jun 03, 2019
Melina Moyes
rated it liked it
Jun 02, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Jul 24, 2018
Abigail Mukanda
rated it really liked it
Aug 17, 2018
Mar 19, 2019 added it
A good book would recommend!!
rated it it was amazing
Nov 01, 2018
rated it really liked it
Jul 23, 2019
Brendan Mason
rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2020
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Clare Strahan is a Melbourne writer who once banged out a novel on a manual typewriter by candlelight. She is also a drama tutor with a passion for Shakespeare, a graduate of RMIT's Professional Writing & Editing, a writer of fiction and poetry for humans of all ages and has published in Overland, where she curated their first fiction anthology and volunteers as a contributing editor. She is a fre ...more

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