An outstanding literary work, a haunting portrayal of the wild southern coast of Australia, a disturbing, quirky and moving coming-of-age tale of a young girl. What amazed me again and again about this book was how it sustained a very believable child’s point of view (even as Sylvie aged) in the present tense without ever “telling” the reader what anything meant. It is a classic and quite perfect example of “show, show, show” and how powerful a story can be when there isn’t a controlling narrator getting in the way. I loved the descriptions of landscape and I chuckled over the clever wordplay and Sylvie’s unique way of seeing and understanding the world she lives in. I also recognised the characters from this small town stage: the drunken father, his sorrowful sister, the misjudged mistress, and the poor downtrodden mother/ex-wife. Somehow the author allows us to despise and resent many of these characters with Sylvie, while also showing their humanity and vulnerability so that we feel empathy for the difficult lots each of them have been served. This is masterly writing, and a tribute to the mentorship and Freefall Writing approach of BarbaraTurner-Vesselago (www.freefallwriting.com) who is acknowledged by the author in her dedications.