All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Quincy Jordan – Jen Storer

on February 3, 2014

Quincy JordanQuincy Jordan (Crystal Bay Girls #1)
Jen Storer
Puffin Books (Penguin Books Aus)
2014, 228p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Quincy Jordan is 14 and in year 8 at a private girls school in Sydney. She dreams of being a doctor one day, maybe even a surgeon like her father (although she has a fear of blood). When her high school nemesis Satin St Clair tells Quincy that she saw Quincy’s father kissing a woman not Quincy’s mother, Quincy does her best to dismiss it. Satin is always looking for a way to get at Quincy and she doesn’t want to give her the satisfaction. But after one very failed family dinner, Quincy’s father walks out letting them know in no uncertain terms that he’s not happy. Quincy’s capable Professor of Women’s Studies mother falls apart, leading to the intervention of Aunt Tess, Quincy’s mother’s sister who has been long estranged.

Tess comes from Crystal Bay up the coast and Quincy’s mother makes the decision to return to Crystal Bay with her, taking Quincy who is none too happy to be leaving her school, her best friend Jules and Sydney for some hippy backwater she’s never even heard of. She’s also intimidated to meet Aunt Tess’s eldest daughter Esme, the cousin she never even knew existed. At first Quincy struggles to fit in – she’s unused to boys and finds attending a co-ed school daunting. She doesn’t have the right clothes (there’s no uniform policy) and she despairs of getting an education that would be of the same standard as the one she’d receive in Sydney. However getting involved with the high school’s production of Grease allows Quincy to explore her furtive love of fashion, something she’s kept hidden away until now.

Almost without realising it, Quincy begins to settle into Crystal Bay. She has friends, of a sort, she’s had a makeover and is beginning to fit in and she has a way to explore a passion of hers. She also has a flirtation with Harris, a young guy who might be a bit rough around the edges but whom Quincy feels she can relate to. She’s starting to feel at home in Crystal Bay but she still has unfinished business with her father in Sydney and now a choice to make.

Quincy Jordan is the first in a new series aimed at a younger end of the YA market. It deals with many of the same issues but in a perhaps less intense sort of way. Quincy goes through a lot in a very short time: her parent’s marriage breaks down, she watches her father walk out and basically disappear and then her mother falls apart. The aunt she’s never seen or met arrives and then whisks them all away to live in Crystal Bay (a Byron Bay-esque place) for what is first said as being six months but looks like being permanent. She has to start a new school that’s totally different to her old one, she misses her best friend and isn’t sure where she fits in with her cousin Esme and Esme’s group of friends. And for someone who has never really interacted with boys before, she has to figure out what is going on with Harris, if anything is going on with Harris. It’s all foreign territory for Quincy and it’s unsurprising that she suffers a couple of pretty emotional outbursts/breakdowns.

I think this book is well written and well constructed for younger readers (perhaps 10-13/14) but I’m curious to see if this is the last we get of Quincy or if the story will swing around to her again once it goes through the other girls (book two is Romy, I’m assuming the others are Esme and Mary-Lou). Quincy has a lot of things left unfinished at the conclusion of this book, particularly with her father who was conveniently written out for the entire book other than a couple of brief text messages and one or two letters at the end. I’d love for Quincy to receive a proper explanation from him, not really about the marriage break up and him leaving her mother but for why he also abandoned Quincy at the same time. It was a really horrid and cowardly thing to do, not contacting her or seeing her after he walked out of the family home and then he took off for Europe with his new girlfriend. He also delivers news that he must know will hurt Quincy enormously or at least have an affect on her, via a letter in such a callous way that it’s hard to believe he doesn’t suffer from some sort of emotional retardation and yet the letter he sends at the end of the novel seems to negate that. He’s written in two very different ways: Quincy’s hero surgeon dad whom she wants to emulate, her good-natured ally against Quincy’s mother and then a man who can’t even look her in the eye after the split to tell her his plans and how she fits into them in the future.

This book is packed full of things young girls will be able to relate to: bullying at school and being made to feel inferior or uncomfortable, the stress of leaving the familiar such as home, school, friends etc for something new and the fledgling feelings that begin to develop for boys and how good it is when they feel the same way as you do. The cover is fabulous and I think it’s the sort of thing that would definitely have caught my eye and made me want to read it. Even though I tend to like my YA a bit grittier and older than this one, I am really looking forward to the next installment of the Crystal Bay Girls and finding out what’s happening.


Book #25 of 2014


Quincy Jordan is book #12 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2014


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