Sandy Feet (Nikki Buick)This bright little number caught my eye a few months back, as it subconsciously spoke to my longing for some sort of beachy, sandy, tropically, salty, breezy, sunny, happy respite (I love a good adjective list to emphasis a point) to the misery that is a Melbourne winter in the perpetually sodden Dandenong Ranges . The cover of the book is yellow with a palm tree... it says "sandy". That was enough for me.
So I read the book and it was OK. Perhaps not as sunny and sandy on the inside as the cover would have you believe (if you judge books by their cover - which I do), but it certainly kept me coming back despite being a bit slow to get off the ground. Basically, the protagonist, Hunter, is a guy who has a few issues in life; his mum suffers from depression, his stepdad (endearing called "Step"), is a bit of a toss, and his sister is a pain. And he is stuck on a loooooooong family car trip up north to "getaway" and "find themselves". All Hunter wants to find is the nearest Xbox and/or computer, and maybe his dad, who has been absent from his life for some time (this is all explained in the book).
The story touches on a lot of hot topics surrounding family stuff. Thinking back on the narrative, I felt it's strongest theme is that of emerging independence - the need that everyone develops to start making independent decisions and find your own way. But with age comes understanding, and the book also throws in spotlights of insight as to why parents might do the things they do, or make the choices they do, and no, it's not necessarily to make life miserable. Hell, they're people, too!
I read this book on holiday (not somewhere tropical, but it was still away from home, and warm, and there was music so it was all good). Don't pick up this book expecting a light summer read - it isn't. But if you want a good family story that's not super intense, this book is for you. Probably best for about 14+.