Head Of The River
It's the most elite school sporting event in the country. Nine rowers, 2000 gruelling metres and one chance for glory in the ultimate team sport. Sit forward ... ROW.
Tall, gifted and the offspring of Olympians, superstar siblings Leni and Cristian Popescu are set to row Harley Grammar to victory in the Head of the River race. With six months until the big day, the twins can't lose. Or can they?
When Cristian is seduced by performance-enhancing drugs, and Leni is suffocated with self-doubt, their bright futures start to fade. Juggling family, high expectations, study, break-ups, new relationships and wild parties, the pressure builds. As the final moments tick by, who will make it to the start line? And who will plummet from grace?
Pip Harry's inspiration for Head of the River came from having a father who was a national and world champion oarsman, and growing up around rowing boats and rowers. When she was sixteen, Pip filled in for a sick rower at the last minute and ended up falling hopelessly in love with the sport. She says, -I wanted to write a novel for young adults about competition, legacy, desire and winning/losing, so rowing was a natural choice for me. I know first-hand how consuming and exhausting training and competing can be, and how huge the build-up and expectation is for Head of the River results, both from parents, schools and the young athletes themselves.
I was also writing at a time when performance-enhancing drug use had escalated – cyclist Lance Armstrong had admitted his guilt and the AFL and rugby codes were under investigation. I set out to explore how this tarnishing of our beloved sporting heroes might affect teenagers involved in high-level school sport, and the ease and lure of PEDs for teenage athletes. As yet there isn't formal drug testing in school sport in Australia, and I wanted to raise the question – should there be?'
Head of the River will speak volumes to YA readers. With each turn of the page, they will feel blisters on their palms, burning lungs and legs, the splash of river water on their faces, and the intense thrill of competition.
Pip Harry is a freelance journalist who has worked on magazines for many years, including chasing celebrities as Entertainment Editor for NW and Deputy Editor for TV Week before turning herself into a yoga-loving frequent flyer as Health and Travel Editor for Woman's Day. She's the co-founder of relationships website, realitychick.com.au. Her first young adult novel, I'll Tell You Mine won the 2013 Australian Family Therapists' Award for Children's Literature. She has also had short stories published in UTS Writer's Anthology and Wet Ink. Pip lives in Sydney with her partner and their daughter.
Head Of The River
Author: Pip Harry