Source- Review copy/ Boomerang Books/ Allen & Unwin
Synopsis: How about we toss a coin? Heads, it’s west and a lift. Tails, it’s still west, but no lift.’
James is heading into the country on his first teacher-training round when a mysterious girl asks him for a ride. Sophie has him all worked out: ‘You live with your parents and they bought you this car, and a very nice car it is too…’ At first James can’t see past her wild hair and attitude, but then Sophie trusts him with a secret she’s been keeping too long.
Steven Herrick masterfully reveals the essence of his characters in this tough and tender story about opening up to love and living a life that’s true. Black Painted Fingernails is a captivating novel by the author of By the River and other popular, award-winning books.
Review: James is off on his first road trip into the country to take up a six week training placement. He leaves behind his anxious mother and drives off in the BMW gifted to him by his father. James has gone through life doing the right thing, pleasing his parents, going to University and living a relatively predictable life. When James picks up Sophie, a young mysterious hitchhiker his life begins to take a different route. Sophie is a troubled young woman who has been running from her past and has taken the long way back to her family roots. Sophie and James’s contrasting personalities play out nicely as they begin to trust each other.
This is a quick read with a slow but steady plot. The characters are well developed, Sophie and James reveal themselves little by little during their car trip and the author also shows glimpses of their past with flashbacks. These two young adults develop a strong friendship in the couple of days they are driving across country. They realise they can learn a lot from each other and heal each other’s’ past hurts. Sophie and James have realistic inner conflicts and desires and the growth they undertake during their short journey is enthralling and leads to a lovely ending.
An enjoyable YA road trip novel by Australian author, Steven Herrick.