{Blog Tour} Take Three Girls: Review & Author Interview with Fiona Wood

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood
Released: 29th August 2017
Published by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Genre: #LoveOzYA Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Pages: 423
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
3 award-winning authors. 1 compelling book.

ADY - not the confident A-Lister she appears to be. KATE - brainy boarder taking risks to pursue the music she loves.
CLEM - disenchanted swim-star losing her heart to the wrong boy.

All are targeted by PSST, a toxic website that deals in gossip and lies.

St Hilda's antidote to the cyber-bullying? The Year 10 Wellness program. Nice try - but sometimes all it takes is three girls.

Exploring friendship, feminism, identity and belonging. Take Three Girls is honest, raw and funny.
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


Take Three Girls provides an unflinchingly honest view into so many of the real issues facing teenage girls today. We've all heard about, or perhaps even experienced the pain and embarrassment which a slanderous post on social media can inflict. We see the everyday sexism and casual misogyny played out both in reality and through the media. We've felt the change in friendships as people's true colours come through, and found the people who make us realise where we truly belong.

From the pop-culture and music references to the even quicker spread of the rumour-mill thanks to technology, Take Three Girls reads as a story which is current and so relevant. How the girls handled relationships with their families and each other highlighted all the conflicts and contradictions which come up at that age. Sibling rivalries, plummeting self-esteem and the need to put on a 'mask' to be around the popular, snarky group were all topics explored with straight-up honesty. The failed relationships with guys who were never going to give them the respect any young woman deserves and coming to the realisation that knowing your-self worth is so important were some of the other key messages that came through.

Older me, please remember how great it felt to have real friends for the first time. Remember that it felt like something cracking open to give you the wider view, more oxygen. Remember that is also, contrarily, felt like a nest where you were comfortable and safe and restored. Remember that it felt so loose and free when you could let your guard down and stop performing that popular girl version of yourself.

It's the unlikely friendship that bloomed between Ady, Kate and Clem through the Wellness program that made this book such an amazing read. Seeing how they supported each other when each of them came to their own particular dilemmas was heartwarming, and an example of girls helping a sister out in the best possible way. While the revelation as to who was behind the 'PSST' site didn't exactly come as a surprise, I think what this book possesses so much greater substance beyond what was going on online. It placed a well-deserved spotlight on the strength of the girls to unite against the comments and prove that they were good enough and would be successful regardless.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood are three brilliant Aussie YA authors in their own right, and in this book they've brought together all that talent to create a feminist manifesto with heart.


Author Interview with Fiona Wood


What drew you to the idea of writing a book about the impacts of cyber-bullying? What is the main message you hope readers will be able to take from it?

Our starting point was more to write a book about an unlikely friendship, but the setting of cyber-bullying, and general online nastiness became important for the story. We were inspired by what seemed like a constant stream of stories in the media of misogynistic behavior directed to girls and young women in schools, universities, colleges and the workplace. We wanted to represent that reality, and we hope that one message readers take from the book is that if they are caught up in this type of bullying they are not alone, and it’s not their fault. 

How did the three of you decide to collaborate on this book? What was the best thing about writing with two other authors?

We were already friends who met to talk about writing and we thought it would be fun to write something together. We enjoyed the process enormously, although it did take a lot longer to finish than we had initially anticipated. For me, the best thing was working with two writers whose work I love so much. It was a great opportunity to gain insights into Cath’s and Simmone’s creative processes. And it made a welcome change from the usual isolation of writing.

How does Take Three Girls compare with the other books you’ve written – are there any similarities?

I’m interested in exploring the idea of feminism in my fiction. It plays a big part in Take Three Girls and it’s strongly present as a theme in both Wildlife and Cloudwish. Identity is another central theme in those two books and in Six Impossible Things. Both Van Uoc from Cloudwish and Ady from Take Three Girls are serious art students. Across all my writing I try to write an engaging contemporary narrative, told with a sense of humour, that also deals with some more serious social and political issues.

What is the best attribute of the character you wrote?

So, Cath wrote Kate, Simmone wrote Clem and I wrote Ady. I created Ady as a character who is just discovering how important her creativity is in her life, how much it is a part of who she is. She is learning to flex that muscle. That is a strong attribute that was fun to write, because when you write an artist, your also get to write their art, in Ady’s case, expressed through clothes and costume.

Do you have a favourite moment or quote which you think really captures the essence of the story?

There are so many quotes I could mention from all three characters, but one I like from Ady is, “Imagine slipping out for a full-moon midnight walk, just because you could. We’d start to swagger. We’d own the streets, own the night.”  

What advice would you give to other aspiring authors out there?

Read widely. When you read something you like, read it again to analyse exactly how the writer did it. Why, and how, does it work? The other thing is to finish your work. Good writing really happens in the rewriting, and it’s only when you have a complete draft that you can start the rewriting. 

Check out the other stops on the tour!


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