Maybe I’m biased, but I think that Aussie writers are some of the most talented, lovely people in the bookish community. We’re so lucky to have an abundance of wonderful, captivating stories being published in our country that are even going on to conquer the world. Just in the last year or so, we’ve seen so many Aussie authors having their books published in the U.S. for the first time, which is absolutely phenomenal, and it makes me so excited to know that so many other people are going to get to read the books that got me passionate about Aussie literature. Not only are Aussie novels unique in that they are often set in small Australian towns or Aussie cities, which always makes me feel at home, but they capture the way of life and the diversity of Australia in a way that no one else ever could. Every time I pick up an Aussie novels, it’s like coming home again after being overseas for a month. It’s comforting. I know the slang and the culture, and I’m ready to fall into this story. And let me tell you, there’s no other books I’d rather fall into.
An Aussie YA novel I read recently was Remind Me How This Ends by Gabrielle Tozer, and I was again reminded of how much I love reading Australian fiction. One particular reason why I love it is because of the Aussie settings that I know so well. As someone who’s lived in Australia my whole life, I know our country like the back of my hand. I’ve been to most of the cities and I know what they’re like, not only geographically, but to actually experience. I’ve spend time travelling through the countryside, going to all the small country towns with just a pub and a motel. Remind Me How This Ends is set in a town called Durdam, and even if you haven’t been to Australia, the way Gabrielle Tozer perfectly captures the vibe of the countryside through her beautiful prose and evocative descriptions will make you to sink into the narrative with ease.
Possibly my favourite aspect of Remind Me How This Ends is how realistic and relevant it is, and I’m sure everyone else, particularly those who’ve just finished high school like I have, would agree. Tozer manages to encapsulate the confusing and chaotic emotions that arise from finishing high school into a novel which is easy for anyone to pick up and really feel what the characters are feeling — emotions that most people who have left high school would have experience. Remind Me How This Ends explores the turbulence that can come with finishing high school and figuring out what you want to do next through not only the characters themselves, but the writing, which was stunning poignant and heartfelt.
Remind Me How This Ends also features one of my favourite tropes — the best friend to lovers. Layla and Milo’s friendship was so heartwarming, and I loved reading all about the memories they shared and seeing them help each other through one of the toughest times in their lives. With one dealing with grief and the other trying to search for what matters, it was so incredibly touching to see them come together to support one another and be there for each other in a time when the world felt like it was crumbling around them. I adored their flirty banter and the way their romance grew steadily from reconnecting to sending silly little texts, and then into a romance that had me swooning and in tears by the end. Although these characters did occasionally annoy me in the beginning, I think it was the genuine way they were written and that they weren’t perfect — they had flaws and sometimes they frustrated me — that made me fall in love with them. Both Layla and Milo could easily walk right off the pages as complete, vibrant people. There wasn’t a single one-dimensional character in sight.
Like a lot of my favourite Aussie YA novels, Remind Me How This Ends featured small town drama, adorable romance and realistic characters that I want to protect for all eternity. But this book isn’t a walk in the park. There a heavy themes surrounding death and questioning what your purpose in life is, as well as the realisation that not all relationships last, and some change shape and grow through time. What Remind Me How This Ends excelled in was simply that — the realistic, genuine portrayal of what life is like after high school for so many teens. Even if you’re not a teenager, the themes of hope and compassion, and the relatable characters, means everyone will be able to see a piece of themselves in this gorgeous novel. If you’re looking for a new Aussie YA novel to pick up, I highly recommend Remind Me How This Ends.
Have you read Remind Me How This Ends yet? Do you love Aussie YA like I do? What’s the last #LoveOzYA novel you read? Let’s chat all about our amazing Aussie authors!
Thanks to HarperCollins Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Remind Me How This Ends by Gabrielle Tozer
It’s the summer after high school ends and everyone is moving on. Winning scholarships. Heading to uni. Travelling the world. Everyone except Milo Dark. Milo feels his life is stuck on pause. His girlfriend is 200km away, his mates have bailed for bigger things and he is convinced he’s missed the memo reminding him to plan the rest of his life. Then Layla Montgomery barrels back into his world after five years without so much as a text message.
As kids, Milo and Layla were family friends who shared everything – hiding out in her tree house, secrets made at midnight, and sunny afternoons at the river. But they haven’t spoken since her mum’s funeral. Layla’s fallen apart since that day. She pushed away her dad, dropped out of school and recently followed her on-again-off-again boyfriend back to town because she has nowhere else to go. Not that she’s letting on how tough things have been.
What begins as innocent banter between Milo and Layla soon draws them into a tangled mess with a guarantee that someone will get hurt. While it’s a summer they’ll never forget, is it one they want to remember?