Saturday, April 1, 2017

Makaro Press Blog Tour

Lonesome When You Go by Saradha Koirala, Makaro Press

"I look to my band mates. They’re
wide-eyed. It’s time to put our
rock faces on. My fingers on
the strings, my shoulder under
the strap of the bass, my feet on
the floor – every part of me burns."

Not only is this the author’s first YA book, but it’s also just been given a 2017 Notable Book Award by the Storylines Foundation – one of only two YA books to receive the award this year. Congratulations to author and publisher!

Saradha is well qualified to be the author of a novel about a musical teenager. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from Victoria University and has published two books of poetry. In her other life she’s a secondary school teacher of English literature and creative writing. She is also (surely) a bass guitar player in a band – I say this because the descriptions of her heroine’s life as a bass guitar player in a high school rock ban
d have the confidence of first-hand experience.

Paige’s band, Vox Pop, are selected for the final of the Rockfest competition. Their hopes are high. But then things start to fall to pieces. “I just want things to stay the same,” Paige laments. “The band, my friends… I want to keep a nice steady rhythm, a walking bass line where every note lands on the beat and you always know exactly what to expect.” But with two members of the band at loggerheads and another suffering a bad motorbike accident, Paige finds everything spinning out of control. When one of her best friends is hospitalized with anorexia, Paige simply can’t cope. After a devastating event at the Rockfest finals Paige hits rock bottom, but she finally pulls herself together and realises it’s time to pursue other dreams.

It’s an energetic and very readable story with a likeable heroine – I thoroughly enjoyed it, even the music-focused bits. I do have one little criticism which is nothing to do with the story – I think the cover is too austere (it’s a black and white picture of an amp). If only it was a dramatic picture of a girl playing a bass guitar, something full of life and verve that would attract the eye of a teen reader… As it is, librarians and teachers will have to make an effort to “sell” the book to teens. Hopefully the Notable Book Award will help with its promotion.

BTW, there’s a free teaching resource available on

Saradha Koirala has played in a number of bands over the years, all with dubious names. She’s a huge fan of 90s rock and Bob Dylan but appreciates the nuanced beauty of anything created with purpose, integrity and
love. After teaching English at high schools in Wellington for ten years, Saradha now lives in Melbourne with a drummer, a writing desk and a bicycle. She is the author of two collections of poetry, and Lonesome When You Go
is her first novel.

ISBN 9780994123749 RRP $25 Pb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

The Blog tour continues ... Other  brilliant bloggers are:

4 April • Crissi Blair
5 April • Eirlys Hunter
6 April • Sarah Forster
7 April • Zac McCallum

No comments: