When James drives out west to do a teaching round, he has no idea that a girl with wild hair and flowing black dress will change his direction completely. A captivating story of tender new friendship and self-discovery.
'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.
Two young adults meet on the road and find themselves with renewed purpose in this contemporary import. James is a student teacher traveling to his first assignment in a country town, but he puts his dreams (are they his dreams, he wonders, or his parents'?) on hold to give a beautiful hitchhiker a ride. Sophie, the hitchhiker, is returning home to her father and brothers after years of aimless wandering and missed connections, seeking closure, reconciliation, and a voice to express the secrets she has been carrying. James and Sophie bond through their shared uncertainty and begin a sweet and healing romance. James and Sophie narrate in honest, plain voices, but Herrick occasionally brings in the viewpoints of other characters; while this adds a deeper, though perhaps unnecessary, layer with James' parents, it distracts with one-off characters who exist only to provide backstory. This philosophical coming-of-age tale has a gentle message about making life meaningful by letting go of worries and regret, though it doesn't stand out too far from other similar tales. Krista Hutley. Booklist Online 06/11/2012
Steven Herrick was born in Brisbane, the youngest of seven children. At school his favourite subject was soccer, and he dreamed of football glory while he worked at various jobs, including fruit picking. For the past twenty years he's been a full-time writer of books for children and teenagers, and he visits many schools each year both in Australia and overseas.
Steven lives in the Blue Mountains with his wife, Cathie. They have two adult sons, Jack and Joe.
Young adult fiction
Short-listed Gold Inky Award 2012 AU; Commended CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers 2012 AU
A & U Children
Paperback - B format
14 - 18
Young adult fiction