Veronica (Happy) Glass is a 17-year-old who has just moved from Sydney to Brisbane after her parents separated. Happy misses her BFF back home and is adjusting to life in a new city. As a serious Francophile, she enters a French essay competition, and wins. She meets the first Alex (Alex One) and Professor Tanaka. The professor advises Happy that she’s won the competition because she clearly suffers from Paris Syndrome, an affliction mainly affecting Japanese tourists. It happened to the Professor and she doesn’t want anyone else to suffer like she did. So Happy and Alex One conduct a study of all things French to determine if they can combat this syndrome and avoid their own suffering given their love for France. Along the way Happy meets Alex Two, a French boy whom she likes.
This is a coming-of-age story of an adolescent during a Brisbane summer, meeting new friends, coming to terms with past losses and trying to navigate her way into adulthood. It’s marketed as a young adult novel but would suit all ages. It’s an absolute treat for lovers of all things French with references to food, movies, books and more. And yes, Paris Syndrome is a real thing! (LF)
Arkie is a trendspotter who has lost not only her marriage and her mojo but her ability to predict the next big thing. She has hit rock bottom but a chance encounter with a Japanese girl called Haruko at a train station sets Arkie off on a very Australian pilgrimage - to visit all the Big Things, from the Big Prawn, Banana and Pineapple to the Big Redback and Cow. With Haruko along for the ride and the Seven Lucky Gods in her possession, Arkie embarks on a journey of self-discovery, with her husband's divorce lawyer hot on her tail. With shades of The Wizard of Oz, this is a quirky and highly original tale that highlights a longing for a more nostalgic time.
After being unceremoniously dumped by text message, Edie flees Sydney to her hometown of Darling Head. As a non-surfer and non-swimmer, it's hard being back at home in the shadow of her famous world champion surfer father. Dark memories return and awkward Edie finds she's lost direction and purpose. She pines for her lost boyfriend; gets a job drawing crab larvae for attractive Professor Brown and relies upon her best friend and life coach, Sally, for dubious advice. Her father lives with a woman who enjoys naked gardening and the girlfriend's brother Jay, who has his own troubles, moves in. In a bid to turn her life around, Edie starts writing erotic fiction and bases her characters on the crush she holds for Professor Brown. Accidentally, her writing is printed on the back of flyers for Sally's new business and suddenly everyone in the small town is talking about it. Can she mess up and complicate her life any more? Edie finds herself on a journey of self-discovery, finding love and more importantly, learning to love herself. She feels a connection to Jay but does he really understand her? Can she sort out her life or is it destined to only get worse? There's plenty of humour in this novel with crabs having sex and talking bonsais. But there is fantastic depth and despite all of her failings, or because of them, you'll grow to love Edie. (LF)
Cassandra Daley is a glamorous Sydney PR guru. She has the fancy apartment, car and hairdresser boyfriend, but none of this can save her when bulldog journalist Simon McKechnie is on her tail. After sprawling her deception in a prestigious marketing campaign across the major papers, her stellar career unravels and she flees to the wildlife haven of Beechville in outback Queensland. She accepts a job in the wildlife office and takes her Sydney attitude and Ferrari car with her. She can do the job, no problem, but nothing can protect her from the frogs and snakes in her toilet or the strange noises heard outside her door in the isolated country. Her biggest challenge is Ranger Mac, cool and aloof and refusing to help her. What is his problem? When relations between them start to thaw, Cassandra's past comes back to haunt her when McKechnie tracks her down, stirring up trouble again. Can Cassandra keep her life on the straight and narrow and out of the papers for once? Can she figure out the town's secret and keep quiet or will the temptation to resort to her deceptive tactics for her own benefit prevail? Cassandra grows to love the small town and its people and no longer pines for the bright lights of Sydney. But is she prepared to live amongst the feral pigs, flying foxes and lyrebirds of the outback even if it is with sexy Mac? A quirky tale with delicious Australian flavour and a sting in the tail. (LF)