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Thursday, December 8, 2011

'Friendship on Fire' by Danielle Weiler

Received from the Author

From the BLURB:

The first few days of year 12 are disastrous for school captain Daisy Brooks.

But Daisy’s life takes a sudden turn when she is dared by Skye, the leader of the Blonde Brigade, to meet the mysterious, drop-dead gorgeous stranger, Nate, from rival school Addison Grammar. Daisy’s instant attraction to him disrupts her world. But what about her best friend Roman? How will he respond to this intruder?

Daisy is a vulnerable, yet fiery girl going through the chaotic phase between teenage and adulthood. She is about to discover the complexities of relationships, the etiquette of friendship and, most of all, her development as a woman.

Is it too late for Daisy to realise that the choices she makes shapes who she is and who she will become?

Daisy Brooks’s senior year is not off to a great start. Her first assembly as school captain is slightly ruined by her new bright orange hairdo – thanks to her father’s inability to choose correct permanent hair dye. The local Blonde Brigade is already giving her a hard time (and affectionately dubbed her ‘ranga’) and her teachers have done the unthinkable and handed out assignments on the first day back.

The one bright spot in Daisy’s first day back is the appearance of a private school boy hottie. Oh, and her best friend and vice-captain, Roman, who she can count on to hold her temper and have her back.

But the winds of change are sweeping through Daisy’s small town of Twin Rocks. Turns out the private school hottie is new in town and fast friends with her brothers. His name is Nate and he turns Daisy’s legs to jelly. But her totally platonic best friend, always reliable Roman, is starting to act strange.

This is Daisy’s senior year. She’ll learn hard truths and lose small battles on the path to adulthood . . . but, hey, nobody said it was going to be easy.

‘Friendship on Fire’ is the Australian contemporary YA novel from Danielle Weiler.

I really wasn’t at all surprised to learn that Weiler is a teacher. She writes with a precise eye and keen ear for teen dialogue that comes from someone who observes these creatures on a regular basis in their natural habitat. ‘Friendship on Fire’ is a hefty read, coming in at 471 pages. But it’s also an easy read, about the most important time in a teenager’s life – the final stretch, rounding home and heading towards the light at the end of the tunnel;

Dear Diary,

The first day of year twelve – my very last lifeline to the world I want to hold on to and never let go. It sounds dramatic but there are so many things I will miss in thirty-five weeks time. My friends, familiar cracked hallways, and some of the teachers. I can’t bear to move on and be expected to make a new life elsewhere. It’s ridiculous. Who made the rules of life anyway? I’m quite happy where I am.

Daisy’s senior year is more complicated than most. She’s falling in love for the first time, with rich new boy, Nate. And in the process she’s learning the truth about her best friend Roman, and the feelings he has for her. Throw in three overprotective (but lovable) brothers and some family financial constraints and Daisy’s year twelve is veering wonderfully off course.

This novel was such delicious, vicarious fun. Reading it was like tripping down memory lane, remembering my own final year of high school and all the finite catastrophes and tragedies that seemed to blow it up by epic proportions. Daisy is a wonderful protagonist. She’s the best kind of narrator, funny and self-deprecating, charmingly unaware of the pull she has on those around her as she stumbles her way into adulthood.

There are two wonderful romances in this book, making up an intense love triangle between Daisy, Nate and Roman. Old and new; the boy she has always known and the one that sneaks up on her. I won’t give anything away, because half the fun of the book is trying to guess who Daisy chooses.

‘Friendship on Fire’ is a wonderful Australian contemporary YA. Danielle Weiler certainly knows her subject matter as she deals with the ups and downs of young adulthood with infinite patience and tenderness. Admittedly the book is a wee bit long (for a contemporary YA read), but I got completely lost in this book, caught up with Daisy’s trials and tribulations. I can’t wait to read what Weiler comes up with next.


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