I was excited to have the chance to read this book recently. I had won Have You Seen Ally Queen about a year ago, as a subscriber prize from Good Reading and Fremantle Press. It used to tempt me from the book case. The lovely diffuse blues and greens of the cover often caught my eye as I walked past.
We meet Ally Queen as she has just started at a new high school. Ally and her family have moved from Perth to a small West Australian coastal town, Melros. Ally didn't want to move of course, and leave all her friends behind in Perth. We quickly realise that her mother is having a health crisis as well, and this was part of the reason for the family moving.
I have survived. Today was my first day at this new school. I feel like I've run a cross-country of something; I'm exhausted. I drop my bag outside our house and head down to the beach. I don't feel like answering Mum's questions about how it went- I just want a bit of space.
Have You Seen Ally Queen? is written in an engaging first person voice. Ally is quite funny, and rather obsessed with killer pythons (the lolly ones, not a WA monster snake), which makes me like her even more of course, but sadly the local shop only has stale pythons on sale.
It's a landscape that is familiar to any reader of Tim Winton of course. The beach and the ocean figure strongly here too. But does Tim Winton own every story of the WA Coast? This is my first reading of Deb Fitzpatrick, I look forward to more of her writing. I am rather intrigued by her first book, 90 Packets of Instant Noodles. If only for the title alone.