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I Had Such Friends

Meg Gatland-Veness



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01 September 2018
Children's & Educational; Children's & young adult fiction & true stories
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- The secret weapon in this beguiling novel is the crisp and engaging voice given to Hamish Day, an unpopular and lonely kid in a small coastal town in Australia. Meg Gatland-Veness' debut deftly alights on a surprising number of themes in such a natural way, that we understand that 'things like this' are going on all around us or within us in the towns and cities where we live.

Older readers will find themselves reflecting on their schooldays and where they figured in the groups and cliques (which may or may not be a good thing). Younger eyes will, hopefully, feel empathy as they enjoy reading this vivid, and at times, confronting story. Craig Kirchner


So, then it happened. Peter Bridges pulled into the bus bay. You're not allowed to do that. Peter was in my year but I hardly ever saw him at school. He was on the football team, though he had almost been kicked off more times than I could count, for fighting and not showing up to training. His car was the cheapest-looking Toyota Corolla I had ever seen in my life.

"Hey Hamish",  he said, and I couldn't for the life of me work out how it was that he could possibly know my name.

"Want a ride home?"


When Charlie Parker dies it affects everyone who knew him. Everyone, that is, except for Hamish Day, the boy with only one friend, who lives on a cabbage farm.

After a tragic car accident leaves his school in grief, Hamish finds himself pulled into the lives of the people left behind. He tries his best to thread them back together again, even though he is pretty sure he's the least qualified person for the job.

With hard-hitting themes of unrequited love, sexuality, bullying, death and suicide, readers will take part in a poignant story about self-discovery, grief and the tragic power of silence.

A compelling look at adolescent pain, I Had Such Friends pushes us to reflect on our own 'sliding doors' moment. Who are you to someone else, and what part do you play in his or her story?
By:   Meg Gatland-Veness
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
ISBN:   9781925700015
ISBN 10:   1925700011
Pages:   288
Publication Date:   01 September 2018
Audience:   Young adult ,  Preschool (0-5)
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Meg Gatland-Veness is a powerful emerging voice for young Australians. Born in a tiny, country town called Milton, she grew up on the Central Coast before going to the University of Newcastle to study a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English and Drama, as well as a Bachelor of Secondary Teaching. Writing stories for as long as she can remember and reading them for even longer, Meg always carries a notebook with her in case inspiration strikes or she encounters a beautiful new word. Equally heartfelt is her passion for championing local youths and promoting important conversations about themes like love, sexuality, bullying, suicide, grief and trauma. Inspired not only by her career as a high school teacher in both Australia and London, but also her own personal school experiences, Meg wrote I Had Such Friends, a poignant and important YA debut about self-discovery, grief and the tragic power of silence in rural Australia. Her writing urges readers to notice the gaps in another's words and question the parts we play in somebody else's story. Meg is a high school Drama teacher living on the Central Coast of New South Wales. Other than writing novels, she channels her unending creativity into choreographing and directing musicals, writing poetry, singing and ballet, as well as playing tennis, volleyball and soccer.

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