enticing title and cover, Sadie Starr’s Guide To Starting Over promises from
the get-go to be an entertaining YA read.
Sadie is a teenage girl on a mission to start over in
many areas of her life. This is helped along by the fact that her family is
moving from Sydney to Melbourne with not a lot of time to say goodbye to her
crush Daniel (with whom things are very complicated) or the smattering of
friends she doesn’t feel she actually has.
The book opens
at the airport, with Sadie in the Ladies removing all traces of herself from
social media – a fabulous opening gambit. This is the first inkling we have of
her tendency to take extreme action without necessarily thinking through the
Sadie Starr is
a flawed but very likeable teen with OCD, disordered eating, overbearing
parents, a sometime lack of behaviour regulation, chronic self-doubt, the need
to fit in and be liked – in fact, all the things that young adulthood (and
indeed, general adulthood) seems to touch on at some point or other.
In Luby’s hands, these subjects along with performative feminism, cancel-culture,
loneliness, secrets, family dynamics, grief and bullying are deftly handled, although
sometimes confronting for the reader. These threads that weave their respective
ways through the narrative are not at all preachy – they’re embedded within the
character’s psyches and behaviours, which is what makes this such an
interesting and relevant work for today.
light of the above, the feel-good factor throughout this book is very high. I
suspect this is because our guide Sadie is funny. Very funny. She brings
us moments of pure humour gold. She’s also endearing, unpredictable and
exceedingly frustrating – all of which make for a compelling and entertaining
journey into her world.
contemporary attitude and representation, endearing characters, dialogue that’s
ripe for the picking and great descriptions of Melbourne, I wouldn’t be
surprised to see this work optioned for the screen.
Please note the
trigger warning for DISORDERED EATING.
Title: Sadie Starr’s Guide To Starting Over
Author: Miranda Luby
Publisher: Text, $22.99
Publication Date: 2 August 2022
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult