I have the hard cover. A bunch of black and white photos of a guy and girl on a bicycle and post it notes background the title.


I love this collection of characters. Minor flaws in everyone means you can identify with more than one.


Sage. She’s had a run of bad luck, but manages to make everyone’s day by leaving positive post-it’s on people’s lockers. This makes me smile.

Least Favourite

Dylan’s Mum. Just, ugh!


Sage meets the new guy and there’s a connection.


Dylan and Shane have at it and the crap hits the fan.




I like the way Anne has created teens who are not all shallow and vain. Sage’s actions make me wish more kids would do what she does. I like that not all the adults are absent and unaware of the dramas in their kids’ lives. There are parts that may make you uncomfortable, but it casts a perspective not many would think of.


Not so much a quote but the happenings on page 280. Small seemingly meaningless actions can make the greatest impacts. I love it when good karma is paid back.


Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.

Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rear-view mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.

But love doesn’t mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again…

Published April 7th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends


The cover completely represents the book. The romance that’s involved and the ideals of the main character represented with the bicycle and post it notes.


The story follows the main character, Sage, who lives with her aunt. There is a romance with new boy, Shane, and some friends that come into the mix as the story progresses.


Shane – probably the most swoon-worthy boy in a book I have read all year. He’s pretty shy, quiet, pensive… and a musician. Very sensitive to Sage’s somewhat quirky ways and very dependable, when he can be.

Least Favourite

Ryan. He wasn’t absolutely horrible, but I felt that he was a very shallow person.


We are introduced to Sage who is in a very comfortable, positive stage in her life. She’s healthy, has friends, and is overall pretty happy. Then her best friend tells her a secret, and her life begins to slowly spiral and change.


(Besides the synopsis here are some thoughts I had on the storyline/theme) Sage learns to evaluate her own life and those around her. Even if you aren’t the most popular, who you choose to surround yourself with matters. Thinking of others needs in life is important when getting to know somebody.


Very fairytale-esque: it was perfect for the story and really wraps everything up nicely


In a way, I felt this book was like a fairytale. It’s a representation of change, learning who you are and being true to yourself. A great recommendation for those who like clean reads, positive attitudes and actions in life.


“Every flaw makes him more perfectly Shane, more right for me. I feel like we’ve been tested, and that we can survive anything. We’re Strong. Were special. We Are. And together, we’re invincible.”


Mandy_HMandy Wrangles reviews Julie Goodwin’s cook book, and with her young family, it proves to be perfect.



goodwin-homemade-takeawayJulie Goodwin has become a familiar face in Australian cooking circles in the last few years. As the winner of the 2009 ‘Master Chef’ television show, she’s gone on to huge success writing for the Australian Women’s Weekly, appearing on TV, and as a bestselling cookbook author.

Her first cookbook, ‘Our Family Table’ was one of the highest selling cookbooks in Australian history. She recently opened ‘Julie’s Place’ on the NSW central coast where she hosts cookery classes, corporate team days and special events. What’s her secret to success? Well, I think it’s her normalness. Julie Goodwin is kind of an everybody. The sort of person you can imagine being friends with, the mum you met at a school fundraiser or the lady from the local shop. Her cooking style is realistic – sure, as we all learned watching her on Masterchef, she can pull out the big guns and whip up a spectacular, world-class meal without blinking – but she realises most of us just don’t have the time to undertake those kind of cooking challenges on a regular basis.

Making a call to the local takeaway shop is so much easier, if not expensive and, well, there’s always that guilt factor if you’re anything like me. Homemade is always best. It’s just not always possible. Goodwin’s latest cookbook, ‘Homemade Takeaway’ solves both those problems. With simple, easy to understand recipes that are actually achievable for the average home-cook, gorgeous photographs and a variety to please the fussiest family member, I think she’s on another winner.

‘Homemade Takeaway’ is broken into chapters such as Thai, Tex Mex, Lebanese, Corner Store and Chicken Shop. There’s a fab bakery section (the baked chocolate cheesecake, oh my!) and lots of quick tip recipes, such as pickled onions and burger sauce to add to your Aussie or American burger. The chapter on Chinese cooking gives us those timeless classics such as Sesame Prawn Toast, Mongolian Lamb and Chilli salt soft-shell crab, along with basics like Special Fried Rice.

For Italian, there’s pizza of course, pasta dough and Spaghetti and meatballs, but you can also check out something a little more special such as the Ricotta and spinach ravioli with burnt butter and sage (I’m SO cooking that one soon…will be back to you with the results). I’m expecting my family favourites to be the Lebanese flatbread and dip recipes, along with those burgers from the Corner Store and Tex Mex chapters.

In all, this is one of the most well-presented everyday cookbooks I’ve come across in a long time. It’s practical as well as beautiful and nothing about it screams too hard or fiddly. Best of all, Goodwin gives us alternatives to buying takeaway, using healthy, locally sourced and easy to find ingredients. She also gives tips on how to make a dish more economical – for example using water instead of buttermilk to poach chicken pieces that will later be fried for Southern Fried Chicken (another must-make, it looks amazing).

I recommend ‘Homemade Takeaway’ for anyone who loves to cook, but is practical and realistic about what is achievable in a home kitchen. It would make a fantastic Christmas gift for anyone who enjoys feeding their family and friends the timeless favourites – and for fussy kids who prefer takeaway to Mum’s cooking…it’s a super-win!

Homemade Takeaway by Julie Goodwin

Published by Hachette Australia

Paperback (re-enforced, glossy) 273 pages

ISBN – 978-0-7336-3213-6


higgins_havoc I’m just going to be upfront and admit it: I’m a total newbie when it comes to dystopian YA fiction. Fans of the genre are right now wondering what the heck I’ve been doing with my reading hours up until now.

Well, we’ve all got to start somewhere, and I’d say being handed Jane Higgins’ novel Havoc was a pretty good introduction to the rough and tumble of worlds tending towards irreversible oblivion.

I didn’t realise it at first (d’oh, newbie alarm sounding again!) but Havoc is actually Book 2 in the Southside Novels series. Book 1, The Bridge, won the Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing in 2010 so it comes from strong pedigree.

Havoc picks up where The Bridge left off. It’s 2199 and The City remains divided. There might be a ceasefire between the two warring sides (Cityside and Southside), but it’s one that’s barely holding. Then Cityside blows up one of the bridges leaving Southsiders dead and conflict instantly re-ignited. In the bomb’s aftermath, teenagers Nik and Lanya are drawn into the complex web of power, fear and betrayal that’s fueling The City’s fractured war.

I really enjoyed stepping into this vivid futuristic world. In the hands of Nik, who is the only son of the chief spy for Southside’s Brekens, it felt like I was on a crazy, adrenalin pumping adventure full of wrong turns and intrigue…with a few perfectly timed lucky-breaks. Nik’s split loyalties between his new home on Southside and his past in Cityside injects the story with a great dynamic. I was right with this character as he tried to navigate his way around old relationships while following his new sense of purpose as something of a champion for the Breken cause.

The character of Lanya (and the chemistry between her and Nik) is another of the book’s strengths. Lanya is a smart, feisty heroine for readers to invest in. Nik and Lanya’s race to halt the widespread release of Cityside’s biological warfare is pacey and compelling.

There were times when I found the book’s political aspects a little confusing (so many factions with differing motivations) but had I read The Bridge first I’m sure this wouldn’t have been an issue.

Being the dystopian newbie that I am, upon finishing the book I was keen to know what committed readers of the genre had thought of it. As far as I can tell it’s getting a big wrap for not following ‘the usual tropes’ and many praise it for being an ‘intelligent’ read.

My assessment would be that this is a well-paced adventure into a world cleverly imagined.


The Telegraph lists its 45 best YA books of the year. Take a look through and see if there’s something you might like. We have reviewed a few of them here on the Escape Club – but there are plenty that we haven’t read as well. It’s great to see Aussie’s Garth Nix and Jack Heath mentioned on there.


We thought this article about the great philosopher Kierkegaard was well worth reading. See what you think!


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