At the end of the school year, fifteen-year-old high-achieving 'good girl' Vanessa Partridge re-invents herself and seeks out new life experiences as she asserts her independence. A wonderful and funny coming-of-age story set at the beach over the summer holidays.
Vanessa (Van) Partridge is curious about the idea of having sex. But she can't tell anyone. And no one would believe her anyway - because everyone knows she's a goody-two-shoes. But over the summer holidays, Van rebels and everything changes.
At first it feels like delicious freedom as she explores her independence, practising her favourite cello pieces, reconnecting with her long-time summer friend Kelsey and exploring her attraction to environmental activist Bodhi.
But when her sense of self is shaken, Van wrestles with issues of desire and consent, and the questions that have been plaguing her all along… Can someone with sensible plaits and an interest in philosophy really be a raving sex-o-maniac? And if they are, is there anything wrong with that?
The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge is a funny and warm coming-of-age novel about love, sex, friendship, family, and finding your voice.
'A wonderfully original voice and an irresistible protagonist who captures the complex, hilarious, and messy inner life of girls. Witty, funny and heartbreaking - I wished I could lean into the pages and give Vanessa a hug.' - Melissa Keil
Clare Strahan is a Melbourne writer who once rattled out a novel on a manual typewriter by candlelight. Her debut young adult novel, Cracked was shortlisted for the 2015 Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards. She managed the fiction reading team at Overland journal for several years, was a peer selection panellist for Varuna, the National Writers House 2014-2016 and teaches creative writing for the PWE Associate Degree at RMIT. She is the creator of the Literary Rats cartoon and flutters about the twittersphere as @9fragments.
Young adult fiction
A & U Children
Paperback - B format
15 - 18
Young adult fiction