Last Wave by Paul Hayden is actually from 2003, but I just recently heard about it. Hayden is yet another Australian author writing books tuned towards young adults, though in our cooperative this is actually considered Adult Fiction. This is about 17-year old Matt, who is graduating and ready to spend his last summer partying with his surfer friends until they split up to do whatever is next. Matt, however, becomes mixed up between a couple of girls and could see his surfing days end, while his best friend is dealing with a potentially unwanted pregnancy. Later, more tragedy takes place, leaving Matt depressed and unsure as how to act around his friends and his family. This is quite good and Hayden pours on the Australian dialect, which is fun to read. This is a good read for teens and adults alike, though the book is fairly raw. At one point, I thought I was seeing some inconsistencies with the plotting, but as it went on I think that Hayden just knows how to write about the fluidity of life and people’s emotions. The fact that life gets weirdly inconsistent is partly the point of Last Wave.
Peter Carey has written quite a few novels, though Theft: A Love Story is the first I have read. I tried to get through this book, but could only get about halfway. I’m not saying it is a bad book, it is just more challenging than I was willing to put up with at the moment. Theft is basically about a painting that gets stolen. The story is told from the standpoint of three characters: “Butcher” a pretentious painter, his emotional brother and a mysterious woman who is the daughter of the artist who painted the missing work of art. It is a great plot, but the characters’ ramblings are hard to follow and Carey forces his readers to take in every little detail in order to follow the story. It is good, just not for me at the moment.