symmetrically appealing, colour matched cover and excellent title, I was
actually a little bit in love with this book before I opened it. And after? Well,
I was delightfully hooked.
Nina Kenwood is
a YA author with street cred; her first and much-loved novel It Sounded
Better In My Head won the Text prize, and now she’s quite possibly a
contender for any number of others.
Upon moving into a run-down student share house in Melbourne, our flawed,
confounding and endearing protagonist Brooke – who’s quite partial to writing a
list, carving an ornate fruit platter and remembering everyone’s birthday – discovers
that there are just three simple house rules here. No pets, no household
relationships and no unnecessary drama.
None of these quite cut it as far as
she’s concerned (a spreadsheet would have been better), but a girl can’t have
As it happens,
Brooke is obviously on a crash-course to breaking at least one of these rules
as we see from the opening sentence where a pet (of sorts) is introduced:
There’s a mouse
in the corner of my room.
quickly hots up, with Brooke realising that one of her new housemates is
actually an old enemy – a guy she really liked when she was fourteen but who
did the dirty on her, and who she hasn’t spoken to since. What follows is a
slow-burn rom-com of quite epic proportions, that takes us deeply into Brooke’s
neuroses, past relationships and wonderfully entertaining family dynamic. The
narrative offers up an interior world which is beautifully drawn in its
complexity – along with some extremely funny interactions.
I loved almost
every character in this book, and none more than our Brooke who’s angsty and
obsessive but mostly just hilarious. She is an absolutely relevant and current
teen superhero. Funny, smart, warm and a non-drinker who wants to do well at
these first months of leaving home with Brooke is a joyous experience. Who knew
that transitioning from high school to uni and share-housing could provide such
an authentically delicious, chaotic and optimistic narrative?
Title: Unnecessary Drama
Author: Nina Kenwood
Publisher: Text, $24.99
Publication Date: 5 October 2022
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult Fiction