We’re sitting there with matching milkshakes, Sasha and me, and somehow, things aren’t going like I always thought they would. We’re face to face under 24-hour fluorescents with the thoroughly unromantic buzz of aircon in our ears and endless flabby wedges of seated trucker’s arsecrack as our only visual stimulus.
In a dead-end town like Barwen a girl has only got to be a little different to feel like a freak. And Clancy, a typical sixteen-year-old misfit with a moderately dysfunctional family, a genuine interest in Nature Club and a major crush on the local hot girl, is packing a capital F.
As the summer begins, Clancy’s dad is involved in a road smash that kills two local teenagers. While the family is dealing with the reaction of a hostile town, Clancy meets someone who could possibly—at last—become a friend. Not only that, the unattainable Sasha starts to show what may be a romantic interest.
In short, this is the summer when Clancy has to figure out who the hell she is.
‘When I was not reading it I could not stop thinking about it. It made me laugh and cry. Chris has nailed the teenagers in this novel and the desolate, deadening beauty of Barwen, Queensland, and what it must like to grow up there if you’re not a straight-laced bogan (join the nature club or go hunting for the Beast of Barwen in the hinterland!).’ Stephanie Speight, publicist
‘There’s something wonderfully unpretentious about it, and Clancy is pretty much the best. As is her brother Angus and her friend Reeve...The setting is well done and the characters are likeable, flawed and funny. I LOLed.’ Shalini Kunahlan, marketing coordinator
‘It’s warm and funny, the voice is really attractive, and it has a lovely gentle narrative pull. Plus—teen issues. Clancy’s 16 and sees herself as a loner dropkick misfit. She lives with her moderately dysfunctional family in a bog standard country town and has a big (largely unthought-through) crush on the local faux goth, Sasha Strickland. Over the course of the summer before year 12, the family deals with the fallout from their dad’s involvement in the road-smash that kills two local teenagers, Clancy meets someone who may at last become a friend and the smoking hot Sasha shows what may be a romantic interest. In short, Clancy has to figure out who the hell she is. It’s a superior gay coming of age: character- and relationship-driven, really easy to read.’ Mandy Brett, senior editor
‘Clancy of the Undertow is a beautiful story…It’s about the importance of fitting in or, failing that, finding someone to not fit in with.’
‘[A] starkly realist depiction of life for teenagers who feel at odds with the small towns in which they live. Clancy’s biting sense of humour will have readers laughing despite some heavy themes.’
‘Currie’s storytelling reminded me of Robert Drewe and Raymond Carver…Currie may not have consciously set out to write a YA novel–but I’m glad he found 15-year-old Clancy, and I hope he comes back to this readership who will welcome any new words from him with open arms.’
‘A beautiful cover is matched by terrific story-telling in this coming-of-age story of the smart and funny, Clancy. Funny and heartfelt and perfect for the over 15s.’
‘Clancy of the Undertow demanded a slow, savoured read.’
‘A compelling coming-of-age story set in a dead-end Queensland town that’s imbued with warmth, empathy and real wit…Currie has a talent for keeping his writing real. From the dialogue to narration, Clancy of the Undertow blends the excruciation, confusion and hope of being a teenager into a novel that will pull in readers of any age.’
‘A shining example of the power of Young Adult literature…No matter what age you are, read it, it’s wonderful and engaging and I could hardly bear to put it down to go to work.’
‘A terrific YA book with lots of appeal. Clancy is a completely believable character, a smart, confused, tomboyish teenager who’s struggling to find her identity…An excellent read with plenty of humour.’
‘This brand spanking new Australian novel has been mentioned in hushed tones alongside adolescent stalwart To Kill A Mockingbird. A better, almost equally impressive, comparison would be Jasper Jones.’
‘Christopher Currie has captured the spirit of an Australian teen struggling to find her feet within judgmental, small town prejudice. Anyone having grown up in Australia will see themselves within Clancy’s plight. She’s relatable, likeable and an incredible young woman who lends her voice to the underdog of our nation.’
‘Currie has created a slightly snarky, yet endearing voice in Clancy, perfectly capturing the confusion, heartbreak and excitement of being on the cusp of adulthood…This is a coming of age story that is gritty and raw.’
‘So real it hurts…All the Aussie references are just ace.’
‘It’s great to see a LGBT book that is also authentic in portraying small town Australian life.’
‘Although billed as a novel for young adults, Clancy of the Undertow is a delightful read for any age. The dialogue is sharp and fresh, with the central players all recognisable personalities, perhaps even displaying traits we can recognise in ourselves or others.’
‘Funny, gritty, absorbing, and occasionally depressing, this is an intriguing if occasionally melodramatic glimpse of a young Australian woman’s coming-of-age.’
‘In short, if I could, I would throw free copies of this book from the rooftops just to get them into the hands of every young adult reader in the world.’
‘Christopher Currie’s writing has already been compared to John Green…An honest portrayal rather than the glossed-over version of teenage life, friendship, family, and love.’
‘As soon as I picked it up, I asked myself why I’d ever waited this long to read such a realistic and moving book which will become one of the most-loved Aussie YA books of our generation…Clancy of the Undertow is brilliant in many ways, but the way Christopher Currie has captured genuine family dynamics as well as the voice of a teen who’s struggling to find her place in a small, judgmental Australian town is what makes this novel a must-read.’
‘Currie does very well at getting inside a teenaged girl’s head, presenting an authentic voice for Clancy. As he says in the acknowledgments at the end, ‘if it helps just one person understand that being young is being confused, and that things do get better, and that none of us really know what we’re doing, then this whole process will have been worth it.’ This is what good young adult fiction can do, and this one is just that.’