Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell, Fiona Wood
Published: Pan Macmillan Australia
Released: August 29 2017
Read: June 24 2017
Take Three Girls doesn’t pull any punches. It’s cleverly crafted for maximum impact through a variety of formats—online forum posts, journal entries, lessons plans, letters to parents, and our three protagonists’ alternating points of view—covering nine weeks from July to September (then one epilogue post in December) of a wellness program involving Year 10 girls from a private boarding school.
The topics cover online sexual harassment, friendship dramas, parental expectations and sibling rivalry, honestly and frankly. Some content might be shocking to adults, but we suspect some ( a lot of?) girls deal with this sort of terrible slander, mostly by ignoring it or turning to friends for support. What’s also abundantly clear is that a lot of the shaming is flagrant lies, and yet there’s little the girls can do to repair their damaged reputations. It’s systemic and endemic. Getting this book into the hands of all teenagers is crucial because it impresses on readers that this sort of behaviour can be and should be stopped. It gives them the knowledge that they have the power to stand up to bullies, and redirect the narrative.
What Kate achieves at the end is marvelous and empowering. We are left with unfinished stories, but Ady’s plea is universal and hopeful: I just want to know that whatever happens, I can handle it.
Clem is the heart, Kate is the mind, and Ady is the soul of Take Three Girls. It’s astonishing, It’s real. It’s important. Watch this literary space awards next year!