I'll Tell You Mine
Here's the thing. I've been kicked out of home. After the last thing I did I ran out of chances. Tipped all my parents' patience out on the floor like the last bit of milk in the container. They just lost it. Fair enough, I suppose. I did do something pretty bad. So bad I can't even say it out loud. Neither can Mum. We both just: Don't. Talk. About. It.
From promising new Australian writer and freelance journalist Pip Harry, comes an engaging young adult novel, I'll Tell You Mine, about finding friendship and love in the most unlikely of places, a boarding school.
Kate Elliot isn't trying to fit in - everything about her screams different. Considered a freak with her gothic garb and her withdrawn nature, the girls at the exclusive Norris Grammar Boarding School for Girls give her a wide berth. Adding to her alienation is her strained relationship with her politician mum.
Already attending as a day girl, Kate's arrival at the boarding house causes gossip to spread like wildfire across the school. She's serving a life sentence, no parole, because her parents kicked her out of home. But Kate has a secret - the one that landed her in the boarding house in the first place. She's buried it down deep but it always seems to surface.
'This isn't forever,' he says. 'You might actually enjoy having a break from us for a while.'
'You mean you'll enjoy having a break from me,' I say quietly. 'Just abandon me then.'
He sighs deeply, his shoulders slumping. Suddenly he looks like an old man - crumpled and creased. He kisses my cheek and I immediately wipe it off with the back of my hand. I watch him go, closing the door and not even looking back. I realise this is really happening. To me. Right now. My own parents have ditched me.
Kate soon learns that the boarding house is just as difficult as living with her parents - a minefield of rules, a new social hierarchy and nowhere to hide. How can Kate be herself, really herself, when she's holding on to her big secret? How does she take the first step when she's not sure that people want to know the real her? For Kate, it's the strength of her new found soul mates that help her find the courage to accept her past.
In writing I'll Tell You Mine, Pip drew from her own experiences as a lost and angry year nine boarder at a private girls' school who, at the end of her time there, emerged much more positive and independent. 'Many mother-daughter relationships become a potentially explosive power struggle around the age of 14-15. I wanted to explore that particularly difficult and confusing time in the novel. Kate and her mother, Isabel, go from being great friends who have lots of fun together to sworn enemies and virtual strangers. They're struggling to find common ground or similar points of view. As she gains independence in the boarding house and is allowed more freedom, Kate realises she can find a new way to relate to her mum and that, surprisingly, they're more alike than she first thought.'
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 yogaloving frequent flyer as Health & Travel Editor for Woman's Day. She's the co-founder of relationships website, www.realitychick.com.au and has had short stories published in the UTS Writer's Anthology and Wet Ink. Pip lives in Sydney with her partner and their gorgeous daughter, Sophie. When not at a keyboard, she can be found searching for the perfect flat white and competing in ocean swimming.
I'll Tell You Mine
Author: Pip Harry