20 July 2009

Half Way to Good

by Kirsten Murphy

Penguin. Australian, Young Adult. Paperback rrp $19.95

Half Way to Good is the story of 17 year-old Luke, your typical Australian Year 11 high school student. It is also about Anna, a graduate teacher beginning her career at a Catholic school. Their stories are intertwined together in a way that would cause most kids and teachers to cringe. Anna is one of Luke’s teachers and also the sister of his older brother’s girlfriend. They see each other outside of school!

Luke is suffering bouts of unease and depression because his father is ill, his mother sad and his older brother always around. Anna is suffering from being the “new” teacher, being just a bit older than her students, having another teacher determined to make her life difficult and on top of all that, her ex boyfriend, whom she vowed never to be hurt by ever again, wants her back.

Anna and Luke help each other with their problems but can they help themselves?

Half Way to Good
isn’t about being on your best behaviour but about getting to know yourself. Anna and Luke are familiar characters which makes them very easy to relate to. This is a universal story of a teenager and his teacher. Told in dual narrative format it is an entertaining book that your average adolescent and beyond will love.

Murphy’s second novel The King of Whatever won the 2006 Children’s Peace Prize for Literature and was named a notable book in the 2006 Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award. I can see Half Way to Good up there too.

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