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I Had Such Friends

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  373 ratings  ·  108 reviews
When Charlie Parker dies, it affects everyone who knew him. Everyone, that is, except for seventeen-year-old Hamish Day, the boy who lives on a cabbage farm and only has one friend. But Hamish soon finds himself pulled into the complicated lives of the people left behind. Among them is Annie Bower, the prettiest girl in school. As he uncovers startling truths about his pee ...more
Paperback, 278 pages
Published August 1st 2018 by Pantera Press
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  373 ratings  ·  108 reviews


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Mandy White
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I Had Such Friends is a YA book but absolutely speaks to older adults too. This book is wonderfully written and very relevant to today's society. It tackles some tough subjects and has very likeable characters that you care about. I would love to read a sequel and see how these teen's life's have evolved.

This book will s set in rural Australia and centres on the life of teenagers who are discovering who they are and where they fit into the world. It starts with the popular boy Charlie being kill
...more
Schizanthus Nerd
Content warnings include grief, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, homophobia, alcoholism, discussion about prior drug use, bullying, accidental death and suicide (including method used).

Charlie Parker, who was loved by everyone (including his teachers), has died. The entire school has been deeply affected by his death at the beginning of Year 12. Well, everyone except Hamish and his only friend Martin. Hamish hasn’t been the same since a tragedy in his own family years ago and he thinks he
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~Madison
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
IM SOBBING IN A QUIET LIBRARY. IM ABOUT TO START WAILING I SWEAR.

This is the saddest book I’ve read in a while honestly. I’m at the library and I can’t see what I’m typing because of my tears and my phone is on 14% but I needed to update about this book ASAP.

READ THIS BOOK. PLEASE. IT DESTROYED ME.
Chiara
A copy of this novel was provided by Pantera Press for review.

I would say that it’s pretty hard to get published in general. I would also say that I think it’s a little bit harder to get published in Australia. I would say that it’s harder to publish queer books in general. And I would also say that it’s harder to publish queer books in Australia. I think these things are pretty well known and evident, and not so much a personal feeling on the subject of publishing and publishing queer books.

For
...more
Bridget
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This one is right up there for me. It is the kind of voice I love and I'd personally call this a cross-over novel, one that works for adults and YA. It is set in a small Australian town where people play footy, surf and the culture of bloke is at it's peak. It is tough to stand out in this place. You fit or you don't. If you don't you'll be picked on and persecuted and made to pay. Hamish is a poor, skinny kid who has nothing cool about him. The story takes place over Hamish's last year of high ...more
Sharon Metcalf
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2018
"...I saw you standing there and you looked so separate from everyone around you.  You looked how I felt."

Meg Gatland-Vaness, a young Australian author has delivered a terrific debut YA novel with I Had Such Friends.          There was much to enjoy about her story even though it covered topics that have been addressed many times before.

Hamish is a 17 year old high schooler in rural Australia.   His family is strapped for cash - often the plight for our farmers - and this was made evident in
...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘It was scary having someone know the things that made you vulnerable.’

This YA novel is set in a small town somewhere in rural Australia, where Hamish Day lives with his parents on a struggling cabbage farm. Hamish Day is seventeen years old when Charlie Parker dies. Unlike Hamish, who only has one friend, Charlie was popular. Charlie’s girlfriend, Annie Bower, is the prettiest girl in the school. Hamish and his friend Martin Archer are on the periphery: bullied and ridiculed, surviving. But thi
...more
CC the Great is Not Okay
This review includes spoilers that I will not be tagging. Don't read beyond this point if you don't want to get spoiled.

If I had to compare this to another book, it would be A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. This is the Australian YA equivalent of A Little Life. Both are depressing tragedies featuring gay men that end in suicide.

Both were also written by women.

I have to reference Chiara's review on this book because they're right. Women who are straight as far as we know, should stop writing qu
...more
Janelle Dazzlepants
[Disclaimer: I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review]
TW: child abuse, sexual abuse, suicide, homophobia

I Had Such Friends is an Aussie YA contemporary centred around a teen named Hamish, the son of farmer parents in a small Australian town. Hamish has approximately one friend, until a boy at school dies and he's pulled into the lives of the people left behind.

I won't lie, the synopsis for this is a bit misleading. I went into it expecting a really gripping and emotio
...more
The Cats’ Mother
A moving story about teenagers in a small town in Australia, this emotional novel reminded me just how awful adolescence was, and made me so grateful, yet again, that I don’t have children, as it would be so hard helplessly watching them survive it all - endlessly worrying that they may not.

Hamish Day is the son of poor cabbage farmers, and the second most unpopular kid in school. His only friend, Martin, is even more despised - even by Hamish. When the most popular boy, Charlie, is killed in a
...more
megan ♡
Aug 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I was sorely disappointed by this book and I can't really pinpoint exactly why. The plot was average, but I've read it before. The characters were okay but nothing special. The twists were also not very twisty and I could see them coming from a mile off. If I'd read this book a couple of years ago, I would have definitely been more impressed by it. So, while it wasn't for me, I still recommend it to readers who ha
...more
Claire
This is a hard one for me to review. While I found the story itself engaging and I got emotional in some places, I found that Hammish's narration to be pretty flat, this could have been because he was depressed, but I felt like he was just telling a story and I was having to find the emotion in it for myself, he seemed to convey none of the emotion from his narration which should have been there. It touched on some important issues, teen bullying, sexuality, grief, depression and suicide.

Thanks
...more
Susan
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2018
I have received a free copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

When Charlie Parker dies, it affects everyone who knew him. Everyone, that is, except for seventeen-year-old Hamish Day, the boy who lives on a cabbage farm and only has one friend. But Hamish soon finds himself pulled into the complicated lives of the people left behind. Among them is Annie Bower, the prettiest girl in school. As he uncovers startling truths about his peers, his p
...more
Lori Boyd
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars for this ARC,(thanks to NetGalley and Pantera Press). Opinion is my own.

High School is brutal, especially for kids like Hamish...poor, skinny, no friends. But, things are not always what they seem. This book starts out slow, then moves quickly over half way through. Abrupt ending. So many topics being dealt with....bullying, child abuse, neglect, death, homophobia. As a parent of a HS child, my heart broke for these kids. So many secrets and no adults to help them navigate life issues.
...more
Joelie
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this book, im not even sure I did anything else between starting it and finishing it. This book absolutely broke my heart and took some turns I wasn't expecting. It deals with a few heavy topics but balances it out with some very witty lines and humorous moments. I just loved everything about it. We all have a friend like martin haha.
Erin
“It all started when a kid died.”

As chilling and captivating opening sentences go, this one was a good hook.

Charlie Parker, beloved by all, has died, and the community is left to pick up their shattered lives and move on. Hamish didn’t know Charlie, but he soon comes to know the people that Charlie left behind, and in the process he learns more about himself than he ever thought possible.

I’ve heard/seen this coming-of-age young adult novel likened to The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Thirteen
...more
Claire
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had to sleep on this one before I could review it. It's a story that's going to stay with me for a while.

3.5 stars but I've decided to round up after all. I Had Such Friends is a tale of two halves. The first half I found a bit frustrating, written in the style of a 16 year old boy & clearly trying to aim for that demographic, I didn't think I'd be able to push through. Hamish is an unpopular teenager living on a farm in the outskirts of a small town in rural/coastal Australia. He narrates the
...more
Jennifer Shanahan
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-giveaways
I really enjoyed this book in spite of the sad parts. Hamish, a high school senior in Australia, is the narrator and he is funny and honest. HE tells it like it is. I wish he had a better self-image because he called himself a loser constantly, which obviously he wasn't. He has one best friend and he lives with his parents on a remote cabbage farm. This is the story of how he made new friends through a series of events that happen in his life. A classmate dies, another classmate starts talking t ...more
Emma
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was totally captivated by this story. Hamish’s distinctive narrative voice had me hooked. His tone was flippant but so poignant. His sense of loneliness broke my heart. I thought the writing was quite beautifully spare and evocative. Loved it.
Sarah Fairbairn
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loveozya-mg
This story follows Hamish, a self described scrawny farm kid loser who hates farming, during his last year of high school. We journey with Hamish as he discovers his sexuality, self-identity and true friendship. This story is filled with grief, hate, and heartbreaking sadness.

Things I liked:

♥ Going on Hamish’s journey with him.
♥ Hamish’s self confidence and self-worth growing as the story progressed.
♥ Hamish learning how to let people into his heart again.
♥ Hamish figuring out the whole friendsh
...more
Carmel
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
My youngest daughter - 13yo - has been suggesting for a while that I read this book. It is her second favourite book and she has read it multiple times. It’s a great YA novel and a great read for adults too. It’s a contemporary Australian story of teenagers ( 17-18yo) and their lives and friendships. It covers so many topics - friendships, bullying, popularity, sexuality, alcoholism, physical abuse, poverty, wealth, dreams, aspirations, suicide, generation gap, grief and love! The five main char ...more
Alexis
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow this is so different front he usual books I read. I went into this not thinking to much of it but my god it pulled some of the strings in my heart! That ending though 😭
Claudia
Mar 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Sadly I did not enjoy. This book was very confusing and it took a long time to get to the main point of the story.
Maddy Estherby
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: unhauled
3.5 Stars. This packs a punch.
jessie beale
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
It took me awhile to get into this read.. I actually put it down and wasn't going to finish it. Then BOOM! At the half way point I couldn't put it down and it was pulling on my heart strings big time. Such an emotional rollercoaster of a teenagers life and their pushed aside struggles.
Emily Wrayburn
Review originally posted on A Keyboard and an Open Mind July 2, 2018:

I feel like this book could have been good but it tried to tackle too many big issues in a short amount of space and ended up not doing them the justice they deserved.

There was also the issue that for probably 75-80% of the book, I just couldn’t stand the main character. He had basically no redeemable qualities, though he did finally get his act together towards the end. He is awful to his so-called best friend (and for someone
...more
Millie May
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
I really enjoyed this book!! It was an easy read with plenty of twists and turns!!

My only issue was that all the plot twists came too fast and weren’t as fleshed out as the rest of the story but other then that it was a pretty decent read
Jo-Ann Duff (Duffy The Writer)
I had just finished ready Hey, Brother and jumping headfirst into I Had Such Friends by Meg Gatland-Veness gave me no respite from heartbreak. Meg has written intentionally for a YA audience, yet these themes are pretty raw and will grip the hearts of adult readers with icy cold fingers as they fall back in time to their own awkward and confusing teenage years.

The loneliness of Hamish is so delicately dealt with, it feels like an aura, enveloping him and becoming that thin veil, a barrier betwee
...more
Regards, Matty
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book... DEAR LORD THIS BOOK!
What an amazing read. I envy anyone reading it for the first time and hope that you fall in love with the characters as much as I did.

Let’s get down to business.

From the very beginning there are thousands of questions and that’s what keeps the pages turning. At a certain point you start to think “wheres this heading?”, but once secrets come to light the plot takes a different turn and things become interestingly different.

The book definitely deals with heavy
...more
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Meg Gatland-Veness is a high school drama teacher in New South Wales, Australia.

Meg Gatland-Veness was born in a tiny country town called Milton and now lives on the Central Coast of New South Wales with her boyfriend and two cats. She attended the University of Newcastle where she studied a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Secondary Teaching.

Meg has been writing stories for as long as she can r
...more

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