All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield
I love it when I get debut novels. First time authors are so courageous. They have to be if they are going to get published, simply because they need to stand out from the other manuscripts that must arrive daily at publishers. This book is certainly unusual, so much so that I wasn’t at all sure I liked it for the first few chapters. But I have a personal rule that whatever I start, I will finish. If an author has spent months or years writing a book, the least I can do is spend a few hours reading what they offer.
Mim is the daughter in a very unusual family. Her family has stepped right out of Underbelly. Both brothers are in prison, and but that doesn’t matter because every bully in town knows who her mother is, and is not willing to risk their lives. So Mim has a charmed, independent existence. Like all teenagers, she is not happy. She has established a set of rules that are intended to ensure that she does not end up like her mother, or her brothers. Then one day she is sent to pick up a package and deliver it. Assuming that it is drugs, she doesn’t ask questions. Only while she is on the delivery, the boy she has had a crush on forever stops her, leads her into a alley for a kiss, and steals the package. Suddenly Mim has a serious problem. The boy may be a rat, but he doesn’t deserve what her mother will do to get the package back. Her only choice is to try to get the package back before Mum finds out, and that means she may have to bend or break some of her rules.
This book was absolutely amazing. It was tough, and pulled no punches, definitely not for children. Mim deals with a rough crowd and even she is scared sometimes. But one of the reasons for reading fiction is to safely experience a dangerous world. Looking at the criminal subculture in Australia today is best done with a book.
I have had this book in the reading pile for a long time now. It appears that Wakefield has written a second novel during that time, but it never arrived for review. So the best I can say is – add this one to your collection, and find her second. But read it first before you loan it to others.