2017 Reviews · Australian · contemporary fiction · romance

Book Review: Girl in Between by Anna Daniels

Title: Girl in Betweengirl in between small

Author:  Anna Daniels

Published: April 26th 2017

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 320

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars

Lucy Crighton has just moved in with some gregarious housemates called Brian and Denise . . . who are her parents. She’s also the proud mother of Glenda, her beloved 10-year-old . . . kelpie. And she has absolutely no interest in the dashing son of her parents’ new next-door neighbour . . . well, maybe just a little.

When you’re the girl in between relationships, careers and cities, you sometimes have to face some uncomfortable truths . . . like your Mum’s obsession with Cher, your father’s unsolicited advice, and the fact there’s probably more cash on the floor of your parents’ car than in your own bank account.

Thank goodness Lucy’s crazy but wonderful best friend, Rosie, is around to cushion reality, with wild nights at the local Whipcrack hotel, escapades in Japanese mud baths, and double dating under the Christmas lights in London.

But will Lucy work out what she really wants to do in life and who she wants to share it with?

Girl in Between is a warm, upbeat and often hilarious story about life at the crossroads. Featuring an endearing and irrepressible cast of characters, it will have you chuckling from start to finish.

My review:

I was drawn to the Girl in Between for the distinct Aussie flavour that is filtered throughout this debut novel. I was also in the mood for a spot of contemporary romance and a sharp comedy when I chose to read this book. Girl in Between delivered on all these aspects and I am very glad to have introduced to this debut author, who received a glowing endorsement from a fellow reviewer.

Wrapped up in this true blue Aussie tale is a coming of age novel that focuses on an early mid-life crisis of a thirty year old woman. Lucy Crighton is an aspiring writer, who has recently suffered from devastating breakup with her boyfriend. Retreating to her parent’s place in Rockhampton seems like the most logical thing to do at time of crisis. With the love of her eccentric parents to hold her up at this time of need, Lucy begins to look to the future. With the help of her best friend Rosie, the two embark on a number of adventures to rid Lucy’s mind of her ex. Despite some fantastic travel adventures to Japan and London, Lucy begins to think back to life as home. Was it so bad? And what about that hunky next door neighbour Lucy parents want to pair her with, could he be the love of her life? Questions of love, career, travel, family, friendship and life in general form this inviting tale from a delightful new voice in Australian fiction.

With an impressive resume of radio and television work, including presenting on a daily staple television program I love, The Project, has put debut author Anna Daniels in good stead for writing her first novel. I was completely enamoured by this titillating Australian contemporary fiction offering. In Girl in Between, Anna Daniels manages to achieve an ideal balance between comedy, romance and realism within her engaging novel.

Lucy is the prime protagonist in Girl in Between, in fact, she is the ultimate girl in between! Through the character of Lucy, Daniels portrays a young woman floating between life choices, romance, career aspirations and cities. It is a very real situation that many young women and men have faced at some point in their lives, or at more than one point in their lives. Although I am not in the same life situation as Daniels lead Lucy, I could relate to many aspects that she agonised over. Lucy is definitely likeable, but she can also be frustrating and indecisive. Lucy’s strong tendency to be indecisive is a quality I could see in myself! Despite any reservations you feel towards Lucy and her actions, it is hard not to root for her cause and overall happiness.

Daniels is adept in creating a wonderful array of side characters. Lucy’s parents, Denise and Brian, are quite the oddball couple, with some great quirks that I definitely won’t forget in a hurry! Much of the humour in Girl in Between is drawn from Lucy’s loveable parents. I really enjoyed the scenes in the novel involving this pair, especially Denise’s fixation on the Cher! Lucy is also supported by a great gal pal, Rosie. It is Rosie that takes Lucy from the depths of despair after her devastating breakup and whisks her away to places to help her forget her dropkick ex. Rosie was able to entertain me completely ands she left me with a warm fuzzy feeling in all the scenes she was a part of. Rosie also sent me longing for some time with my bestie, who sadly lives on the other side of the world.

Romance is also on the cards in Girl in Between. This is the type of romance where there is a real push/pull, will they/won’t they style romance. It was just what my heart and mind needed this past week. Lucy’s romantic journey is an authentic reflection on the complexities of modern relationships. Lucy’s bungles and hesitations in the romance department managed to put a smile on my face and warm the chambers of my heart.

If you love you novels injected with plenty of classic Australian colloquialisms, then Girl in Between is right up your alley. I loved that Anna was able to deliver a great play on words within her first novel. She managed to express the true nature of the Australian way of life and achieve a strong sense of comedic realism in her phrasing. It is hard for me to comment on the localised aspect of this novel, as I have never had the pleasure of visiting the small coastal locale of this novel, Rockhampton (I live in the other coastal town of Rocky, in Western Australia). It did however make me want to pay a visit one day to this part of Australia, which was depicted so clearly by Anna Daniels.

An entertaining Australian gem of a novel, Girl in Between enthralled me from the start to the finish. The plot rolled along happily, entertaining me for two days straight with this witty story of friendship, family, love, travel and above all, finding the things in life that truly matter. I really do hope that this is only the beginning of a bright career ahead in Australian fiction writing for new talent, Anna Daniels.

Girl in Between by Anna Daniels was published in April 2017 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Girl in Between, Anna Daniels, visit here.


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