Tuesday 30 April 2024

✿ The Unexpected Mess Of It All ✿ Gabrielle Tozer ✿


Release date 1st May 2024

From the YA Queen of Rom-com comes a funny and fraught 'enemies-to-will-they-won't-they' romance between family friends Jamila and Billy.

Jamila Dakhoul wants to escape her life.

Forget everything.

Forget that her only friends are strangers on the internet.

Forget she's stuck in a caravan after a fire destroyed her family's house.

Forget that Year 12 is a brutal hellhole where bullying is an Olympic sport.

Forget Billy Radcliffe once and for all.

But as Jamila tries to untangle the messy threads of her life on a weekend away with her family, it becomes clear that she can't outrun her past, no matter how hard she tries ...

A coming-of-age story about falling apart, starting over, and the people and places you can't live without from the award-winning author of Remind Me How This Ends, Can't Say it Went to Plan and The Intern.


Copy received from Harper Collins Australia for an honest review

Oh boy, did this book bring back memories of my high school experience!

I wasn't a loner, I had my tight friends group, and I had friends, but I was never going to be the popular kid, I was never going to be the best looking, the one invited to all the parties etc.

There was the mean girls, the guys who though they were god's gift, the pettiness and the bitchiness.

Put it this way - I loathed high school, except it was where I met my best friend, and decades later, she is still my BFFF.

Jamila and Billy's friendship is one that we have all had along the way.  Best friends, to no longer speaking to each other, with nostalgia brining friends back together.

So much is changing, but so much is still the same.

I could feel Jam's palpitations as thing happen in this book.  A similar sort of thing happened to me in high school, when someone I thought was a friend betrayed my trust, so I get her hesitance to involve herself in a lot of things.

I laughed out loud, it was funny a times, and poignant, and there is bit of Jamila in all of us.




Gabrielle Tozer is an award-winning author, freelance writer and editor based in regional New South Wales. She is the author of seven books, including Can't Say It Went to Plan, Remind Me How This Ends, Melody Trumpet, Peas and Quiet, Faking It and The Intern, which won the 2015 State Library of Victoria's Gold Inky Award.

Gabrielle's non-fiction piece 'Lessons in Growing Up' was recently featured in the Teacher, Teacher Anthology, edited by Megan Daley, while her short story 'The Feeling from Over Here' was in the award-winning Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology. Gabrielle loves sharing her passion for storytelling and creativity with readers and aspiring writers, and has appeared at numerous events, including the Sydney Writers' Festival, the Somerset Festival of Literature, StoryFest Out West and the Children's Book Council of Australia's national conference.

The Unexpected Mess of It All is Gabrielle's latest young adult novel, and she is currently collaborating on a trio of picture books with award-winning illustrator Sophie Beer.