This book is written by Ia Uaro an Aussie author who donates money from each sale to charity. The illustrations in the book are also mostly drawn by Ia which added another lovely little touch to the story that a lot of mass-produced books are missing. Ia tells us: SYDNEY’S SONG is written for males and females, 15-year old and above, readers of any genre who occasionally want something different. This novel is a socio fiction, humorous fiction, drama, romantic fiction, coming-of-age, self-help/empowerment, travel in Sydney/Australia, fictionalised true stories – which first of all aims to entertain.
Synopsis: Olympic fever runs high in the Australian summer of 1999 and 17-year-old Sydney has caught it. Little does she know taking a holiday job in the beehive that is the Olympics’ public-transport call centre will be life altering. Shaken by her parents’ divorce, the sheltered Aussie is further plagued by abusive callers, obnoxious government agencies, constrictive office rules, and liberated friends. She is trying to negotiate these challenges as her own personal Olympics when Pete finds her. Pete, Boston’s former child prodigy whose soothing voice floats across her workstation, sees through Sydney’s tough outer shell. Pete knows what it takes to present a dignified front when all you want to do is howl at the moon. Treating their friendship like an art, he invests time and creative effort to pull Sydney out of her despair.
Tragedy strikes when an accident leaves Pete with a major brain injury in a Boston hospital. Their families think Sydney is too young to cope with all the complications, but she doesn’t agree. After all that he has done for her, Sydney refuses to leave Pete with people who view him only as an endless chore. Deferring her university studies, alone in a foreign land facing new trials, Sydney stays at his side—even when he doesn’t recognise her.
Set in Sydney and Boston where heartbreaks are juxtaposed humour, SYDNEY’S SONG is a young girl’s courageous journey to adulthood and a love story. A work of fiction based on real events, this novel with an Australian accent also shows the world that living with disabilities does not prevent a person from attaining happiness.
Bookish Things: 370 pages. The cover is quite striking despite the lack of much colour, I think I would have liked a colour cover though.
Sydney’s Song is a story packed full of emotion and experience. It is the emotional journey of Sydney, the young 17-18year old girl through dealing with the painful breakup of her parents marriage to the initial forming of her own relationship with the quiet and intriguing Pete.
I liked the detail of Aussie culture sprinkled into the daily life of the characters, it was a welcome addition to the story and it didn’t go overboard with Olympic fever, despite the story being set in Sydney, Australia around that time. Where I feel the book fell a little short was the amount of lead up we got before things started to happen for Sydney. I felt it lingered in that dark and withdrawn space for too long. The actions of her parents were a little strange too, but I quickly forgot about that and moved on to how much I loved Sydney’s attachment to Dimity (her beloved pooch), it added a real connection to her for me.
The backpacker group that hung around with Sydney and Pete while they worked at 1300500 were a little worrisome, I felt that it might have glorified the lifestyle choices they made (being promiscuous and drinking/taking drugs) for younger readers, but that was quite strongly offset by Sydney’s adamant beliefs of not drinking or having sex before marriage. I guess the point of having both sides of the coin would be to show young readers that you can make the choice to be different from your friends and it will be ok, but I’m not sure if Ia quite sold me on that.
I felt the ending was a little rushed. There were parts of the time spent in Boston that dragged (probably intentional) and other parts I wished to know more about (Lance and Eve and the musical gang in particular) that weren’t really explored in full.
Ultimately if you’d like a nice, inspiring story of perseverance, overcoming huge obstacles and romance, then give Sydney’s Song a try.
On a side note, the book could do with a thorough edit, there were a number of small typos, missed words, and incorrect or missed punctuation.
**Note: I won this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads giveaways**
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