An enjoyable, insightful, and distinctly Australian coming-of-age story.

Megan Williams’ debut novel Let’s Never Speak of This Again is a YA coming-of-age story, winner of the 2022 Text Prize. It follows 16-year-old Abby, who lives in Brisbane with her parents and brother, and their dog Biscuits. She goes to school with her best friend Ella, and their friends Jade and Alice, and thinks she has everyone and everything mostly figured out. Things aren’t perfect, and she doesn’t always think of others or make the best decisions, but as long as she has Ella by her side, she’ll be fine.

Through the year the novel follows Abby and her friends, whose lives undergo many changes, including the addition of a new friend to their group. Abby and Ella’s friendship gradually starts to change, at first in small ways that might not be a big deal, then in bigger ways that become increasingly alarming, and Abby doesn’t know what to do. She and Ella have done everything together since primary school, what would the future even look like if they weren’t best friends any more?

Boys, parents, parties, sport, school, grandparents, drinking, concerts, sex… This novel covers all the ground of a modern coming-of-age story, is very readable, and is deeply insightful to the experience of being a teenage girl. Abby is an endearing and relatable character, her inner monologue of anxieties, catastrophising, overreacting, flights of imagination, and feeling like she never knows the right thing to say or do is very recognisable to anyone who has lived through adolescence.

This story is about the year that Abby really begins to grow up, the year she comes to the decision to try harder, care more, and not be so afraid of what the future holds. It’s also the year that she learns to think more of other people, and to trust that even if relationships change, that doesn’t mean they need to end.

Enjoyable for adults, young adults and soon-to-be-young-adults, this is a fun, well-written, and enjoyable story of someone growing up as best they can, all with a distinct Australian setting and flavour.

This review first published on ArtsHub.

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