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

Tuesday 2 March 2021

Review: The Edge of Thirteen

Nova Weetman’s powerful portrayal of the awkwardness of early youth and the changes it brings, demands attention be given to the anxiety and angst experienced by teenagers trying to fit in. She employs an intimate, immersive approach, which succeeds in placing the reader in the characters’ space.

Clem is on the cusp of teenage life. Who she was no longer applies as it’s the teen in her age that dictates change. Santa is no longer a presence at her Christmas celebrations, and her chest is determined to stay underdeveloped compared to her two best friends’ Bridge and Ellie. This is a critical concern for Clem. They stand straight, while she remains hunched over.

During the school holiday period, her friends have undergone a metamorphosis. An interest in boys has awoken in them the priority to look and behave differently.

Their conversations have taken on new content. They are no longer a threesome. The space separating them grows wider each day as they move in opposite directions.

Starting Year 8 is nerve racking. It means that an updated mobile phone and an Instagram account are essential. Clem is limited by her parents’ rules enforced for her safety. She doesn’t want to change but simultaneously wants to be like everyone else. 

With Bridge and Ellie distracted with the opposite gender, Clem is befriended by the quirky and unconventional Jacqs. With her coloured hair and double ear piercings, she is distanced from her classmates. Clem finds her interesting and with hidden depth. Clem is also drawn to Tom, whom she finds friendly and easy to talk to. But he hides a secret which will later throw her off balance even further.

As Clem slowly shifts from child to teenager, and after Tom’s secret is revealed, she withdraws into herself, with only Jacqs for company.

Jacqs in the meantime, confides that she envies Clem’s warm relationship with her parents and the way they interact with one another, sharing outings and continuing habits started in childhood.

Can Jacqs words and encouraging friendship remove the shadows that obstruct Clem’s emotional growth? Can Clem replace her poor self-image with acceptance and patience, and repair her relationship with her dearest friends?

Title: The Edge of Thirteen
Author: Nova Weetman
Publisher: UQP, $ 16.99
Publication Date:2 March 2021
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 97807022631251
For ages: 11+
Type: Junior Fiction