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Seventeen-year-old Will is in turmoil after the sudden death of his mother. His father drifts and his older brother, Adam, stays away from home. Isolated and angry, Will begins a search for the answers he craves. He uses his mum’s old camera to document the experience and scrambles to find an idea for which he can live and die. And as if things weren’t complicated enough, he falls for sixteen-year-old Taryn. His final exams are looming, but how will he get through the tangle of grief and philosophy, sex and love?
The Beginner’s Guide to Living is a stunning debut novel that announces the arrival of a fabulous new writer. Lia Hills has written a book about grief, ideas and experience, about those moments in your life that change you forever.
‘I liked being in Will’s world…it’s about grief; but it’s also about life, and living in the now.’
‘I was deeply moved by Will’s story…Lia Hills is a strong new voice and I, for one, will be looking out for her next book.’
‘Lia Hills’s debut novel is sharp and fresh…Hills captures the voice of true adolescent angst, and her evocative prose drags the reader right into Will’s breakdown…Will’s sexual exploration with Taryn…throbs with both intensity and genuine sweetness: the awkward realism of their new relationship is authentic and will resonate with older teens.’
‘Lia Hills’s first novel is beautifully crafted and doesn’t shy away from exploring first love, sex and drugs. Spending time in Will’s head makes for an engaging read and Hills’ talent for credible dialogue and dramatic understatement is spot on, as she picks apart the complexities of a young man grappling with not just grief, but the realities of life.’