Shirley Marr: Preloved; Kirsty Eagar: Night Beach; and Rosanne Hawke: The Messenger Bird

Teen spirits

Pam Macintyre


Adolescent girls aged sixteen to seventeen are at the centre of these three Young Adult novels: girls whose heightened emotional states prompt supernatural events. Broken families, disconnection from parents, obsession, music, art, and death impel the protagonists to seek solace and healing in the metaphysical. For Shirley Marr (Black Dog Books, $18.95 pb, 272 pp, 9781742031903), it is the Chinese understanding of the ‘preloved’ and their resonance in the present that engenders the attractive ghost Logan. For Kirsty Eagar (Penguin, $19.95 pb, 314 pp, 9780143206552) it is the creative impulse, the painter’s obsession with ‘seeing’ beyond the surface of things, that evokes the dark landscape in which Abbie struggles for meaning. For Rosanne Hawke (University of Queensland Press, $19.95 pb, 252 pp, 9780702238826), it is profound grief following the death of the protagonist’s brother.

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Pam Macintyre

Pam Macintyre

Pam Macintyre is the editor of Viewpoint: On Books For Young Adults and teaches in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.


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