By Mandy Hager
Tara is 17 and overwhelmed by what life keeps throwing at her. She is trying to succeed at school, working part-time to help out at home as well as caring for her stroke-ridden father. Her mother is brutal, uncaring and abusive. Tara misses her older sister, Van who died five years ago and consoles herself with painting. She is obsessed with Vincent Van Gogh seeing parallels between his life and hers.
The discovery that her sister had actually taken her own life leaves Tara distraught. She begins to spiral out of control desperate and self-destructive.
There is hope though in the companionship of an elderly man she cares for at the rest home where she works. He offers her strength and wonderful discussions about Vincent Van Gogh. But is it enough?
This book is raw and honest. Family secrets are hidden deep but the consequences are devastating. It is an emotional roller coaster which leaves the reader gasping for breath.
Suicide is very real and Mandy Hager is brave to tackle what is often a taboo subject. I highly recommend this book although the subject and reality of suicide is not for everyone.
I predict this gutsy novel will be a finalist on next year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.