'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 5 August 2010

Review: Beatle Meets Destiny

Title: Beatle Meets Destiny

Author: Gabrielle Williams

Publisher: Penguin, $19.95 RRP

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780143011491

For ages: Young adult

Type: Novel

About: Do you believe in destiny? Do you think everything happens for a reason? What will be, will be?

Do you look out for signs, messages that you should follow a certain path in life? Relax in life knowing that fate will step in and take you in the right direction?

Meet eighteen year-old John Lennon – everyone calls him Beatle.

This is a superstitious boy who has been raised to believe in astrology, signs and psychic charts; a deep thinker headed to manhood with a vision for his life and a certainty that everything is falling into place.

Beatle has a great girlfriend, he’s doing well in his final year at school, his mum is being annoying and embarrassing and his twin sister keeps her attitude out of his way – all is as it should be.

Cue a chance meeting with an amazing girl on Friday the thirteenth, a day when Beatle’s superstition would usually keep him home. What are the odds?

And when he finds out her name – Destiny McCartney – Beatle is hooked. Everyone knows that Lennon and McCartney are meant to be. Yin and yang. Soulmates.

As Williams writes, “Sometimes, your destiny’s your destiny and when the time comes it’s going to happen, ready or not.”

Unfortunately, it would appear that Beatle is most definitely not ready.

From that moment on, Beatle’s life begins spiralling out of control. He’s worried his girlfriend will find out about his relationship with Destiny, there are – quite literally – black cats walking in his path, his star signs (both his actual sign and his would-be sign) are showing trouble.

Then there’s his twin sister, Winsome, forty-five days his junior, born in a different year and under another astrological sign. Winsome’s own lies, the lies Beatle believes she’s telling, and her love life have implications for him that no one would have seen coming.

A tangled web of deceit ensues, with Beatle’s life becoming more and more complicated. Destiny’s own lies add to the mixing pot and blend until the lines between the two are almost intangible.

Beatle Meets Destiny was deservedly shortlisted in the 2010 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, and it isn’t hard to see why.

This is an original story and an addictive narrative with moments of speaking directly to the reader, in a tone you could imagine your best friend speaking.

It’s so addictive, in fact, that I read it in one afternoon, simply unable to put it down for more than a moment at a time (and those moments were usually to collect more snacks!). Try as I might, there was a little niggle in my mind wondering what would happen next and how Beatle would find his way out of this mess.

The authentic, relatable language and tone, together with the page-turning pace of the story, mix to create a book that will resonate with readers. It is funny, real and, with a Melbourne setting, undeniably Australian – a wonderful combination that has all signs pointing towards a classic young adult novel.

This book is available online