Take Three Girls

We are blessed in Australia with some of the most gifted YA authors in the world -- and here is a chance to enjoy three of the best in a single volume! Individually, Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood have written some of my absolute favourite Australian YA books, so the opportunity to grab this collaboration between them was way too good to pass up.

Take Three Girls, as the title suggests, entwines the stories of three girls (each strand written by a separate author -- and yes, I guessed correctly who wrote which, but I'm not telling...) at a private boarding school in Melbourne. Clem used to be a star swimmer but now she's not sure what she is, apart from being crazy in love. Kate is facing the biggest choice of her life: follow her life plan or throw it away for music? And Ady seems to have everything, but in the background, her family is falling apart.

This is a novel about reinventing yourself -- or discovering who you really are. It's a novel about friendships: how they spark, how they build, and sometimes, how they die. Clem, Ady and Kate are in Year 10, and though they make dumb decisions and take stupid risks, in many ways they are more mature and self-aware than some twenty-somethings I used to know.

Collaborations can be hugely fun, paradoxically liberating, and with a built-in feedback loop of reward as you build a story together. But it can be difficult to establish distinctive individual voices, especially when your characters share a single background setting and many of the same experiences. I confess I struggled at the beginning of the book to keep the three girls clear in my mind -- but that passed quickly, and once I was absorbed, I stayed that way right up to the final page.

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