Clancy is a remarkable young woman, the voice of the Australian teen who never quite feels as though she fits into our world She s strong, sassy but also scared of her town finding out that she s gay, especially her judgmental peers who already see her as an anomaly Her father works for the local council where his back injury has left him with the mundane position of directing traffic through roadworks Until one night when two local teens run off the road in a fatal accident and Clancy s father is guilty before charged I absolutely loved the Underhill family They felt incredibly realistic and a real representation of our family unit They love one another but live their own lives quite independent of one another, with their mother trying to maintain a sense of normalcy while the accident is being investigated.Clancy isn t struggling with her sexuality, she s aware that she is in fact gay but feels as though she ll be judged and tormented by her peers And sadly, it s probably a real representation of what can occur in small towns where gossip reins free Older brother Angus was a lovable idiot University drop out, layabout and looking at ways of making money by exploring conspiracies and tall stories Their dynamic added a lighthearted element through banter and teasing one another the way only siblings can As Clancy s father pulled away from his family, it seemed that Clancy s character could see the same isolation in her father that she also experiences Listening to the Cricket in their shed and bonding over melted ice cream, their relationship was truly lovely Seeing her father reconnect with his teen daughter in the face of adversity was beautifully poignant.The most startling aspect is how Clancy s voice was captured It felt as though the reader was thrown into Clancy s world of what could be seen as bogan culture and small town prejudice For those who are unaware of what a bogan is, it s a uniquely Australian term which is described as an uncouth or unsophisticated person, regarded as being of low social status.Christopher Currie has captured the spirit of an Australian teen struggling to find her feet within judgmental, small town prejudice Anyone having grown up in Australia will see themselves within Clancy s plight She s relatable, likable and an incredible young woman who lends her voice to the underdog of our nation Or in Aussie slang She s fucking unreal mate. I can t remember what drew me to this book when I requested it on NetGalley I think it was one of those random requests based on cover and genre, and by the time I got around to reading it, I d forgotten any small amount of info provided on the blurb and didn t have the internet access to look it up again Oh, the joys of reading review copies while on holiday Thus, the whole thing was a surprise, but thankfully, a nice one.The first thing I noticed about the book was that it s very Australian Talking to Cait Paper Fury meant I understood most of the words and my brief Dance Academy obsession helped with some of the others , but there were still various bits of slang I highlighted to look up later if my Kindle dictionary couldn t help me Observation Australians have never seen a word they didn t want to shorten Is afternoon really such a burden that it has to be shortened to arvo Is pm not an adequate substitute But really, it was refreshing to read something outside the usual US dominated YA that crosses my path, as well as outside my immediate cultural circumstances Though the setting wasn t a huge part of the story itself, it gave it a fresh feel, made it a bit different to other contemporaries I ve read recently.Because I think this is a contemporary, even if Clancy s brother is searching for a possibly legendary creature from a hideaway in the woods in true cryptozoological fashion it wouldn t be hunting for beasties if you did it like a normal, non sketchy person This borderline supernatural element doesn t play a major part in the story but for a catalyst and context for other events, and it s never clear whether the creature actually exists Instead, the book focuses on Clancy s family, on her inability to form friendships, and on her sexuality, though she s still pretty confused and closeted about all that.I was intrigued by Clancy s experiences as a lesbian in this particular town because in some ways, it seemed to me a little outdated Well, no, that s the wrong word But while I don t feel the town where I live is particularly progressive, I would be shocked if somebody used homophobic insults in public, or freaked out the way certain characters do when they learn the truth It s something I wouldn t expect to see in 2016, which just goes to show how narrow my cultural understanding is my suburban London experience is not universal, and this brought that to my attention However, I don t want to sound like Clancy faces a relentless barrage of homophobic abuse, because it s far minor than that, and it would be misleading to say it s the focus of the book It s hard, in retrospect, to pin down exactly what is Clancy s family is struggling because of her dad s involvement in an accident at work for which many townspeople blame him, so that s definitely a major part of it As well as that, there s Clancy s relationship with her brother Angus, and her tentative friendship with a girl from her science club I liked that she was involved in that kind of thing, even if she s slightly embarrassed of her own nerdiness.The book also deals with class issues, and poverty povo , and a whole ton of different themes, so it s not easy to pick one out to say what the book s about But I guess it s about learning to relate to and communicate with people, and learning to be honest about your feelings to yourself and to the people you care about It was an enjoyable read, on the whole The dialogue s witty, the narration moves quickly and was equally entertaining, and while I have no idea how the slang would read to someone from that part of Australia sometimes I find British books cringey and unrealistic obviously I can t judge that when I m unfamiliar with the colloquialisms , I found it grounded me in the setting and helped me get into the characters voices There are both romantic and platonic elements to the relationships it explores, and they aren t overshadowed by each other, although I have to say I thought there was potential for romance to develop between two characters and it didn t, which almost disappointed me I like friendships I also like happy f f relationships I was pretty impressed by how well the book saw into the mind of a teenage girl without diving into stereotypes, especially as it s by a male author Although Clancy s a bit butch than your average seventeen year old, she doesn t feel unrealistically so, and she felt natural and believable I had to double check the author bio before writing my review because my default was to assume it was a female writer, which just goes to show I m not above falling into assumptions about gender sorry Kudos to Christopher Currie, though I was impressed The plot isn t a high stakes high action plot, in many ways, because it s a series of small events building up to cause drama than a single instant However, there s enough happening to keep my interest, and the humour definitely helped with that Perhaps the lack of resolution in that one relationship was the reason the ending felt a little unsatisfying to me I really thought it was going to go further than it did, and as a result it felt slightly unfinished but it didn t particularly mar my enjoyment of the book. Just like every nightI want to say, right before a raucous studio audience whoops and hollers and I stand there with my hands on my hips the end of another successful episode of Sassy Smart Girl Who Actually Is a Big Hit in the Romance Department, Despite What You May Think.Yassssss, contemporary story set in Australia with an LGBT protagonist Sign me the fuck up.Meet Clancy She s sixteen years old A misfit A daughter and a sister, both of the big and little variety She s having trouble figuring out where she fits in the world Then, one fateful night, a couple of teens die in a car crash and the entire town lay the blame at her father s feet How rude.I really liked all of the characters in this story I thought Clancy was relatable, and an accurate representation of a teenage girl or rather an Australian teenage girl She is sassy as fuck, and frustrated as all hell Her relationship with her parents was heartwarming This isn t one of those YA novels where the teenager is running around doing god knows what while their parents are conspicuously missing Oh no, Clancy s parents are left, right and centre And I love that In particular there was one scene with Clancy and her dad that hit me in all the feels UGH.And then of course there s Clancy s relationship with her brothers It was so fucking real, the way they would snip and hit each other, yet they re there for each other when they need them Again, the feels I mean Angus, amirite Nancy was ridiculously adorable She was fleshed out and well rounded I really love every little thing about her character It was great to get to know her as the novel progressed The story itself wasn t anything out of this world amazing, but it was super enjoyable I read the entire thing in under 24 hours, which considering my current reading limbo is a feat of its own. Clancy of the Undertow is a new contemporary YA novel from Australian author, Christopher Currie.So strange that on the day I set aside to write my review of Clancy , I was getting all sorts of ping alerts about this YA author Scott Bergstrom who had, advertently or inadvertently but either way stupidly , dissed the entire YA readership by claiming that his self published YA novel which recently had film rights bought by Jerry Bruckheimer was morally complicated than anything else in YA A hashtag has since started up, with a whole bunch of authors and readers calling out Bergstrom s self absorbed, White Knight bullshit and Chuck Wendig probably has the best response so far.But it was amusing to me, because here I was trying to write a review of this book by Christopher Currie a book with a lesbian protagonist, growing up in a rural small town whose already dysfunctional life is thrown into chaos when her father is involved in an accident that kills two local teens and the family suddenly finds themselves local enemies No.1Yeah.No moral complexity here AT ALL.Move along The phone s off the hook because some reporter from Brisbane got our number and Titch answered when she called Mum ripped the cord and she was still shaking half an hour later Kept saying, Vultures, over and over A news van came up to the top of the driveway one afternoon, a satellite dish poking out conspicuously from its roof I was up in my room and I saw it creep up, stay for a moment, then drive away Dad sleeps most of the day, goes out to the shed late in the afternoon and stays there until late at night to listen to the cricket Angus is out most of the time Probably up in the mountains or out at the observatory, who knows In the mornings I collect the paper and take it up to my room Dad s name is in there now, going from a local man to council worker Robert Underhill They re still not calling him a suspect, because they can t, but it s clear the town s already made up its mind. Clancy of the Undertow is a complex, slow unravelling of a town, a girl and an investigation There were parts that reminded me of Robert Drewe s The Shark Net , and than once I found myself quietly comparing Currie to Raymond Carver, particularly for his short story So Much Water So Close to Home which the film Jindabyne was based on.Currie has written about his transition from an Adult author to a Young Adult one and to some extent, I had this article of his in the back of my head while reading his book not least because I loved this metaphor equivalent of Superman trying to write his memoirs with a Kryptonite pen He said he stumbled across his 15 year old protagonist, and then didn t stop writing once he found her I was thinking about this because a plot like Clancy has, about the death of two local teens and impact on the family of the accused local man, has such multi faceted possibilities But there s real power and impact in 15 year old Clancy to be the one telling this story.Clancy has a crush on the local hot girl Her family was already dysfunctional, long before her father became front page local news and the eyes of the town turned on them There s a sense when reading Clancy s turbulent year, that we re witnessing a young woman being forged in flames here The story certainly had lots of possibilities, but coming from Clancy s first person point of view heightens everything to a delicious, heart sickening tension that this huge and devastating event has happened right when Clancy s in the middle of figuring herself and her world out, to suddenly have it all ripped away from her.Morally complex YA, yo I ve said Currie s storytelling reminded me of Robert Drewe and Raymond Carver allow me to add one Clancy of the Undertow also feels like it could be a Paul Kelly song all Australian setting and moral questions, being told by a young woman stuck in the middle of her life Currie may not have consciously set out to write a YA novel but I m glad he found 15 year old Clancy, and I hope he comes back to this readership who will welcome any new words from him with open arms. What a brilliant read Clancy of the Undertow awesome title is painful, beautiful and funny, and written with incredible wit and insight It delivers the kind of raw honesty that makes Australian YA so real and relatable.Yes, it features a teenage girl coming to terms with her sexuality handled with remarkable sensitivity It s also a study of the complexity of friendship and family I loved the changing dynamic between Clancy and her brother Angus and their un PC banter , and her frequently awkward friendship with Nancy.Christopher Currie has a wonderful turn of phrase and his dialogue is pure gold He also captures the insular attitudes and herd mentality that can pervade regional towns This is a beautifully written coming of age story that offers hopes to everyone who feels like an outcastat any age. Got girls in your family or library, but this book What a blimmin marvel it is Strong girl characters and ballsy misfits, nothing not to love here Clancy is in the middle of a family crisis, her Dad has been involved in the death of 2 teens who had a car crash, he is under huge stress, her mum is not coping well Her older brother seems to have become a wastrel and a stray and her younger brother is obsessively playing video games They haven t communicated in ages and this new thing hasn t helped Tempers are frayed and it is best to be anywhere but home They ve become the town pariahs To top it all off Clancy is deeply besotted with the coolest girl in town, even though she is going out with the guy who makes Clancy s life a misery on a daily basis This will take you back to what it was like to be 16 again The conversation is sparkling and witty, clever wit, nothing lame here A really fabulous book, anyone can relate to, peopled with real genuine characters A bloody gem Thanks Netgalley for the opportunity to read this very cool book. I don t know why, but I really didn t expect to enjoy this as much as I did And as I recall, I enjoyed it quite a bit It was a bit unexpected, although I totally knew what the thing with Sasha was going to be Honestly, I was just super pleased with it Not everything in life turns out perfect, and not everyone in life will be kind or reasonable, even your idols It s hard to realize that sometimes, but it happens to everyone Clancy had a very unique and interesting writing style, which definitely added to the atmosphere I might reread this at some point to see if my feelings have changed at all. This YA novel tackles some really sensitive themes and issues in an Australian small town setting Clancy Underhill is a 15 year old girl who quietly deals with feelings of being an outcast Not only is she a member of the nature club, a fringe group regarded as nerds by popular students, but she has secret homosexual leanings Clancy has a crush on Sasha, the pretty girlfriend of Buggs, the town bully Her problems are compounded when her father, a road worker who assists with traffic flow, finds himself on the scene of an horrific smash which kills two teenagers Although Mr Underhill claims they were driving recklessly, many locals accuse him of negligence, making him responsible for their deaths Now Clancy s whole family, including her mother and two brothers, become targets of angry townsfolk bent on vengeance.The highlight of this book is the strong characters Clancy s family is revealed as slightly dysfunctional, but strong and supportive enough of each other to weather storms Her parents make excellent role models in standing by each other Although Clancy gets irritated by her older brother Angus and younger brother Titch, it s obvious that they are all bound by deep affection for each other.Angus comes across as an interesting young man with a rebellious streak He s decided to leave university and set himself the eccentric task of tracking down the legendary Beast of Barwen, which may or may not exist Another character who tugs readers heartstrings is Nancy DeRosa, the new girl in town who makes friendly overtures to Clancy The plot reveals a heartbreaking history of bullying in Nancy s past, forcing her and mother to want to make a fresh new start where nobody has heard of them Nancy s part of the story shows the deep scars bullying may leave on a person, no matter how far they run Possible plot spoilers.I thought there were some inconclusive story lines view spoiler We don t find out whether Nancy and her mother manage to assimilate into Barwen and become accepted by locals Neither do we see Angus reconcile his differences with his father or begin to find his place in the world Clancy never really reveals her sexual orientation to her parents, even though a few characters closer to her own age find out Readers are also left to wonder what Sasha will do, now that she s found out how Clancy feels about her That s a few too many loose ends And since the matter of who was at fault in the crash is quickly cleared up once autopsies are carried out, that main plot thread seems to fizzle out hide spoiler In A Dead End Town Like Barwen A Girl Only Has To Be A Little Different To Feel Like A Freak And Clancy, A Typical Sixteen Year Old Misfit With A Moderately Dysfunctional Family, A Genuine Interest In Nature Club And A Major Crush On The Local Hot Girl, Is Packing A Capital F As The Summer Begins, Clancy S Dad Is Involved In A Road Smash That Kills Two Local Teenagers While The Family Is Dealing With The Reaction Of A Hostile Town, Clancy Meets Someone Who Could Possibly At Last Become A Friend Not Only That, The Unattainable Sasha Starts To Show What May Be A Romantic Interest In Short, This Is The Summer When Clancy Has To Figure Out Who The Hell She Is Christopher Currie Is A Writer And Bookseller From Brisbane, Whose Fiction Has Appeared In Anthologies And Journals Internationally His First Book, A Novel For Adults Called The Ottoman Motel, Was Shortlisted For The Commonwealth Book Prize And The Queensland Literary Awards In Clancy Of The Undertow Is His First Novel For Young Adults Clancy Of The Undertow Is A Beautiful StoryIt S About The Importance Of Fitting In Or, Failing That, Finding Someone To Not Fit In With Books Publishing A Starkly Realist Depiction Of Life For Teenagers Who Feel At Odds With The Small Towns In Which They Live Clancy S Biting Sense Of Humour Will Have Readers Laughing Despite Some Heavy Themes Readings Currie S Storytelling Reminded Me Of Robert Drewe And Raymond CarverCurrie May Not Have Consciously Set Out To Write A YA Novel But I M Glad He Found Year Old Clancy, And I Hope He Comes Back To This Readership Who Will Welcome Any New Words From Him With Open Arms Alpha Reader A Beautiful Cover Is Matched By Terrific Story Telling In This Coming Of Age Story Of The Smart And Funny, Clancy Funny And Heartfelt And Perfect For The Over S Book Birdy Clancy Of The Undertow Demanded A Slow, Savoured Read Alpha Reader, Favourite Books Of A Compelling Coming Of Age Story Set In A Dead End Queensland Town That S Imbued With Warmth, Empathy And Real WitCurrie Has A Talent For Keeping His Writing Real From The Dialogue To Narration, Clancy Of The Undertow Blends The Excruciation, Confusion And Hope Of Being A Teenager Into A Novel That Will Pull In Readers Of Any Age Guardian So Real It Hurts All The Aussie References Are Just Ace Dolly In Short, If I Could, I Would Throw Free Copies Of This Book From The Rooftops Just To Get Them Into The Hands Of Every Young Adult Reader In The World Hazel And WrenA Shining Example Of The Power Of Young Adult Literature No Matter What Age You Are, Read It, It S Wonderful And Engaging And I Could Hardly Bear To Put It Down To Go To Work Incredible Rambling Emily A Terrific YA Book With Lots Of Appeal Clancy Is A Completely Believable Character, A Smart, Confused, Tomboyish Teenager Who S Struggling To Find Her Identity Herald Sun This Brand Spanking New Australian Novel Has Been Mentioned In Hushed Tones Alongside Adolescent Stalwart To Kill A Mockingbird A Better, Almost Equally Impressive, Comparison Would Be Jasper Jones I heard this mentioned at a YA event that I attended for work at the beginning of December, and was intrigued about it I saw it at Dymocks on Monday and resisted, figuring that I d just order a copy for work next year But when I went back to Dymocks for something on Tuesday, it accidentally on purpose ended up in my pile of purchases and WHOOPS NOW I OWN IT So obviously, I was going to pick it up immediately First things first I love the title and its play on Banjo Paterson s Clancy of the Overflow It s so iconically Australian and totally perfect Clancy s a very rough around the edges character, but I couldn t help but feel for her The story ostensibly revolves around Clancy s father being involved in a fatal traffic accident and the entire town turning against them, but really it s a coming of age story in which Clancy struggles with family relationships, friendships, living in a small town, and her sexual orientation It s INCREDIBLY Australian, full of slang and daggy references and test cricket and Holden Monaros It may be a little incomprehensible to international readers as a result, but for Aussies It s pretty stinking great It s a fairly meandering story at times there are a lot of threads involved but I thoroughly enjoyed it and didn t really want to put it down, which is why I was still awake at 2am last night reading it There s a lot in it about learning to be yourself and having friends you re comfortable around, and it was kind of sort of brilliant and feelsy all at the same time.
I am a Brisbane based writer, bookseller and blogger My first YA novel, Clancy of the Undertow , will be in bookshops from November 16 My first novel, The Ottoman Motel was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and the Queensland Literary Awards in 2012.I am a slow moving target.
- Kindle Edition
- 207 pages
- Clancy of the Undertow
- Christopher Currie
- 18 May 2018 Christopher Currie