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The Minnow

The Minnow

Diana Sweeney

  • awardWinner, The Text Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing, 2013
  • awardShortlisted, Queensland Literary Awards, Griffith University Young Adult Book Award, 2015
  • awardShortlisted, Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction, 2015
  • awardCommended, The Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers, 2015
  • Tom survived a devastating flood that claimed the lives of her sister and parents. Now she lives with Bill in his old shed by the lake. But it’s time to move out—Tom is pregnant with Bill’s baby.

    Jonah lets her move in with him. Mrs Peck gives her the Fishmaster Super Series tackle box. Nana is full of gentle good advice and useful sayings.

    And in her longing for what is lost, Tom talks to fish: Oscar the carp in the pet shop, little Sarah catfish who might be her sister, an unhelpful turtle in a tank at the maternity ward. And the minnow.

    The Minnow is a moving and powerful coming-of-age story with a whimsical element that belies the heartbreaking truth of grief and loss. Tom is a character you will never forget.


    Read an online review by the Bookish Manicurist.

    Diana Sweeney
    About the Author

    Diana Sweeney is a university lecturer and fashion model. She was born in Auckland, and moved to Sydney at the age of twelve. She now lives in northern New South Wales. The Minnow is her first novel.

    Read Moreright
    Text publication date:
    28 May 2014
    AU Price:
    NZ Price:
    grief, pregnancy, identity, friendship, coming-of-age
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    Praise for Diana Sweeney
    andThe Minnow

    ‘Quietly powerful and compelling. A tender, lyrical book about love, loss and starting over.’

    ‘Diana Sweeney gives Tom a believable voice: innocent, headstrong, anxious but determined…this strong debut will resonate with young people and adults alike.’

    The Minnow has all the breath-holding intensity and aching beauty of swimming underwater.’

    ‘This is an extraordinary, original, rich and surprising novel…Tom is an unforgettable character.‘

    The Minnow is a fanciful and poignant coming of age story about Tom, a pregnant teenager learning to cope with unimaginable loss. Her story will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book. Perfect for fans of Meg Rosoff and Melina Marchetta.’

    The Minnow is one of the most unique novels that I have had the pleasure of reading…a wonderful story of love, loss, becoming an adult, and learning to live.’

    ‘I love this book.’

    ‘An intriguing tale.’

    ‘Unusual but immensely readable…An unconventional story about resilience, friends, pregnancy and family. Verdict: Winner.’

    ‘The writing in this debut novel has a thoughtful authenticity and the loose ends are resolved with restraint. It is a memorable and beguiling cautionary tale for mature teens and older readers.’

    ‘Beautiful writing. Breathtaking imagery. Questions of reality…[an] utterly incredible debut. It made me want to be a better writer.’

    ‘By now nobody should be surprised that the Text Prize is producing some of Australia’s finest young adult and children’s writing. But here I am, gobsmacked yet again that this Prize has unearthed such an original, tender and downright unique work as ‘The Minnow’ from debut novelist Diana Sweeney. I can honestly say, with hand over my heart, that I’ve never read anything quite like this disarming and haunting novel.’

    ‘Where most grief feels like you are drowning underwater, this lyrical debut novel approaches loss in a wonderfully strange way. Sweeney gives the protagonist an innocent yet determined and unforgettable voice in this unique coming-of-age book. Prepare to have tears running down your cheeks like little tadpoles.’

    ‘[The Minnow] is one of those special treats which works best if the reader has no preconceptions on what is in store for them…I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel…the full story is slowly and teasingly revealed.’

    ‘A sweet, lyrical tale of a teen’s recovery after disaster and the far-from-perfect community that support her. Magical.’

    The Minnow is a beautifully told story about a girl having to come to terms with the loss of one family and the gain of another. I have never read another book quite like it.’

    ‘It is haunting, it is sad, it is beautiful, and I love it. Buy two copies - one to keep, one to pass on to your friends.’

    ‘A powerful touchstone of longing and melancholy…Sweeney expertly moves between memories and time periods, creating a patchwork narrative that pulls readers toward answers just below the surface.’

    ‘A promising and welcome debut.’

    ‘Readers seeking melancholy beauty will find it here.‘