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The Year my Life Broke by John Marsden

December 7, 2013

year my life brokeThe Year my Life Broke by John Marsden. Pub. Pan Macmillan, 2013.

Grade 6 Josh and his family have taken a tumble in life. They once drove an Audi, had a big house and Josh and his brother and sister went to a privileged school.

Now they are living in Tarrawagga, the kind of town that gives holes a bad name. The house they now live in is small with paint pealing off the walls. It is a dump.

What is worse for Josh is that he was a star sportsman at his old school especially at cricket. His new school is as run down as the rest of the town and the kids are as friendly as European wasps.

Josh decides he doesn’t want to be there and pretends he is useless at sport and anything else. he doesn’t care that he is a called a loser. In my book that makes him a loser and josh pretty soon finds he cannot keep it up for long.

The house next door is suspicious. police come and go all the time but he gets to know the kids who live there, Harriett who is the same age as him, and Woody, a boy with desperation written all over his face. What is going on here?

The school has made a brand new cricket ground and is to play a neighbouring school who they have never beaten. Is it time for Josh to reveal his hand?

Marsden tells this story with some panache. He has always been concise in his writing, his imagery and metaphor make pleasing reading and the dialogue between the kids is straight from the school playground. He has his own school when all said and done.

The description of the cricket games and the action that goes on in the next door house make for a lively ending.

Quality writing for primary and intermediate students.


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