Shortlisted for the CBCA Book Awards for older readers this story is intriguing and thought provoking. It ebbs and flows with the personal observations of some characters, and then hooking the reader back into the observer role. Dubosarsky at the end of the story describes connections to the story through art, other novels, and her own story, as well as events at the time.
The setting is a Sydney girls’ school with appearances of family circumstances and the school identity being maintained from a very young age. Conflicting loyalties lead to a very complex scenario with small girls being the keepers of a “secret” of immense proportions. Although the story is predominantly about a small group of girls it does include the family of one particular girl. The story concludes surprisingly with some ends wrapped up, and others left to the reader to consider. The time period in which it is set offers up clues about responses to a range of situations. After reading the story take time to ponder, reflecting on character development, whose voice is dominant, the complication/s, and the side stories that are not told.