Grounding Quinn - Steph Campbell (2011)

Eighteen-year-old Quinn Macpherson's home life is the definition of dysfunctional, with a mum who lives on tablets to control her moods and consequently forgets her maternal responsibilities and a dad who fails to support his wife or offer any paternal love of his own. When Quinn falls for Ben Shaw she can't help but worry that she'll turn into her mum and end up doing something that will push him away. This story obviously centres on Quinn and Ben, but the other characters in the novel felt really isolated and pawn-like; a fact that is exemplified by arch-nemesis Shayna's appearance and role in the last few pages. Similarly a lot is made of Quinn's mother, but she's a peripheral figure and although this fits in part with her role as the unfit mother, her absence felt lacking from the story, particularly given her impact on Quinn's life. The success of this novel lies in the relationship between Quinn and Ben and although there was too much back and forth as they both try to work out what they want, when they are together the pairing is sweet and natural. (JC)

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