We, the Martin family, were like inverse superheroes, marked by our defects. Dad was addicted to beer and bootlegs. Gully had “social difficulties” that manifested in his wearing a pig snout mask 24-7. I was surface clean but underneath a weird hormonal stew was simmering…
It’s summer in St Kilda. Fifteen-year-old Sky is looking forward to great records and nefarious activities with Nancy, her older, wilder friend. Her brother – Super Agent Gully – is on a mission to unmask the degenerate who bricked the shop window. Bill the Patriarch seems content to drink while the shop slides into bankruptcy. A poster of a mysterious girl and her connection to Luke, the tragi-hot new employee sends Sky on an exploration into the dark heart of the suburb. Love is strange. Family Rules. In between there are teenage messes, rock star spawn, violent fangirls, creepy old guys and accidents waiting to happen. If the world truly is going to hell in a hand-basket then at least the soundtrack is kicking. Sky Martin is Girl Defective: funny, real and dark at the edges.
Sky life is a bit different from the average teenager. Her father drinks too much and her brother walks about with a pig snout on so she tends to keep to herself because she can’t bring friends home. Her best friend is their 19-year-old ex-cleaner Nancy who comes to sit with her on the roof of their flat smoking and drinking ans sharing weird stories. It is up there that they first see Luke.
When a brick is thrown through the front window of Sky’s families shop things in Sky’s like begin to all link together. A woman from her fathers past comes back into his life. Her brother Gully has a real investigation to get on with. Luke begins working at the shop and Sky realises there is similarities between Nancy and the recently killed girl. Sky just can’t get Mia out of her head and as she tries to get her head around what happened to her she begins to finally find her place in the world.
What I love about Simmone Howell’s writing is her emphasis on culture. Through out this book music is continually referenced and we learn how much both Sky and her Dad appreciate the LP record. Sky learns about going to local gigs and discovers the world of the fangirl and how powerful that can be.
The characters in the book are also really interesting. They are very original and have their own quirks that make them good to read about. I thought Gully was a particularly good character and his obsession with being an agent really fitted in with the plot of the story. Nancy was also a really interesting character. She embodied the big sister type that many girls look for and she was full of hope and creativity although not without fault.
Although there was a plot to this story about trying to solve the mysterious actions surrounding Mia’s death and the attacking of shops in town the story was really about Sky trying to find her place. It is really hard for young women to make that transition from being an immature teenager to finding your place in the world and Sky although feels very different to others is still going through the same pains.
I was really excited about reading this book especially after winning it from Simmone herself. I don’t think it is my favourite of her novels but it I definitely enjoyed it and it is the perfect young adult novel about discovering who you are and where you belong.