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Belle's Bookshelf

"With a dreamy far-off look, and her nose stuck in a book..."

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What Maisie Knew
Henry James
My Friend the Enemy
Dan Smith
Worlds of Arthur: Facts and Fictions of the Dark Ages
Guy Halsall
The Nest - Paul Jennings, Stig Wemyss Reading this book was like catching up with a childhood friend.Paul Jennings was one of my favourite authors when I was a kid, so it was wonderful to return to his writing with The Nest, his first book for older readers (it's aimed at the late teens). From page one I recognised his distinctive style, and it gave me a feeling of, "Oh, so there you are". Now I want to go dig up and reread my old Jennings collection, even though I'm waaay out of their target demographic.But let's talk about The Nest. It tells the story of Robin, a troubled teen living in the Victorian Alps with his cruel father. His mother disappeared from his life when he was young, something that still profoundly affects him. He's plagued by worrying thoughts, and while he's trying to get a grip of them and deal with his dad, he's also navigating the tricky territory of first love (and first lust).This book is a lot darker than most of Jennings' other work (hence the older audience), but it still bears his trademark humour, straightforward storytelling and, of course, an incredible twist. The snowy setting was unusual for an Australian story (definitely not the typical beach or outback environment), but the stormy weather added to the growing sense of turmoil in Robin's world. A writer himself, the plot is spliced with the stories Robin writes, which themselves reveal small hints of what's to come. I also enjoyed them because they reminded me even more of Jennings' own short stories (nostalgia points!).I loved this book. Even without the nostalgia, it would be a great read. The story is simply told, but powerful. I read in an interview with Jennings that he wanted to write this story to let teens, who might be going through a similar experience to Robin, know that they're not alone. And he's done a brilliant job - I really connected with Robin and felt his pain. There were quite a few times that I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him that he wasn't alone, and that everything would be OK.Read more of my thoughts on this book - and others - at my blog http://bellesbookshelf.blogspot.com/2011/04/review-nest-by-paul-jennings.html