Rhiannon Wilde, author
Rhiannon Wilde has been telling stories for as long as she can remember—working as a journalist, a terrible barista, and a high-school English teacher in Brisbane, Australia. Rhiannon’s particular interests are caffeine, characters both real and imaginary, and the power of well-strung words to challenge and change us. Her second-person short story inspired by urban Brisbane, You Deserve Nothing, was longlisted for the Queensland Young Writer’s Award in 2014. Her debut novel, Henry Hamlet’s Heart, won the Queensland Literary Awards Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer in 2019 and was selected as an Indie Introduce and Kids' Indie Next title in the US.
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Two sisters grapple with their father’s depression and their own mental health struggles in this Australian novel.
Cinnamon and Scarlett Prince are well known in their seaside town—their father’s fame from a 1990s band plus their family’s rambling home atop Princes Beach being the site of a tragedy from the 1960s that’s infamous in local lore mean there is no hiding. Older sister Cinnamon guards her feelings; younger sister Scarlett hoped to leave her anxiety attacks behind when she went to boarding school. Their reunion over the summer following Scarlett’s graduation is not a happy one for the estranged sisters. It’s made worse by the appearance of their divorced mother, who shows up after Scarlett contacts her once she sees how poorly their dad is doing. Weaving in family secrets, complicated love interests, and realistic depictions of the sisters’ feelings and internal musings, this novel flavored with gothic romance and mixed with the often funny, self-effacing narrative voices of the girls packs a lot in. The tender awkwardness of both of their burgeoning relationships—Cinnamon’s with her co-worker Daisy and Scarlett’s with Will, Cinnamon’s ex-boyfriend—is sweet and swoonworthy. The family mystery that runs as an undercurrent throughout feels a little tacked on in places but wraps up nicely in the auspicious ending. The sisters are white; Cinnamon is bisexual, as is biracial Daisy, who is Chinese and white.
A poignant, engaging coming-of-age story.
Ages: 14 and up
Page count: 368
51/2 x 81/4