Annabel Smith's Reviews > just_a_girl

just_a_girl by Kirsten Krauth
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2013, australian, australian-women-writers, aww2013

Kirsten Krauth's 'just_a_girl' is a tense, edgy and compelling insight into adolescence which I read in a single sitting.

The central character, Layla is 14 years old. Seemingly streetwise and social media savvy, she has the terrifying overconfidence of the young and puts herself at tremendous risk with her sexual behaviour, which includes meeting up with older men she has connected with online. Her recklessness creates a sense of ongoing dread in the reader, which contributes to the suspense of the novel.

Though she may not be aware of it, Layla is searching for connection. Her parents are separated and she rarely sees her father. She falls out with her best friend and does not seem to have other friends her own age. Her mother, Margot, worries about her, but doesn't know how to talk to her.

Margot is also seeking connection. Struggling with depression and unable to move on from the failure of her marriage to Layla's father, she seeks support through an evangelical church. Layla's disinterest in the church serves to further disconnect mother and daughter, but they both fall under the spell of the charismatic pastor and this triangle creates a dramatic focus for the novel.

Gritty and confronting, this is a disturbing and perceptive portrait of a generation who are growing up too fast, perpetually 'connected' through social media but struggling to find true connection.
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Reading Progress

June 18, 2013 – Shelved as: australian-women-writers
June 18, 2013 – Shelved
June 18, 2013 – Shelved as: 2013
June 18, 2013 – Shelved as: aww2013
June 18, 2013 – Shelved as: australian
Started Reading
June 20, 2013 – Finished Reading

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