Book Review: Clancy of the Undertow

Clancy of the Undertow
By: Christopher Currie
Published By: Text Publishing
Publication Date: December 13, 2016 (US)
Page Count: 282
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Young Adult

Clancy lives in a small town where being different is not really tolerated. Her family are already seen as a bit odd, and Clancy definitely doesn't fit the box that people would like to stick her into. When Clancy's dad is involved in a traffic accident that takes the lives of two local kids, Clancy finds herself ostracised even further. 

Clancy of the Undertow deals brilliantly with the pain of first love, the prejudices of a small town, and family relationships. 

As the accident is investigated the town turns their attention to her family and it's not a pleasant experience. She and her brothers are targeted and the family become pariahs. 

At the same time she is dealing with all this, Clancy is sorting through her feelings for Sasha, the coolest girl in town. Clancy is flattered when Sasha starts paying attention to her, but what are her real motives? The portrayal of that first infatuation is painfully real. I felt as though I was back in my 15 year old body feeling the thrill and humiliation of it all along with Clancy. 

I loved the way Clancy interacted with her brothers, Titch and Angus. The Underhill family are put under immense strain during the events of the novel, and it shows, but the bond between them remains. Their relationship is awkward and embarrassing at times, but ultimately loving.

This book is so very Australian, and so very different from books set in Melbourne or Sydney. This is small town Queensland, which has a completely different feel to the big cities, and the book captures it well. The story is told from the first person viewpoint of Clancy and I fell in love with her voice. It was so real and genuine.

This book is wonderfully written with beautiful characterisation and I fell in love with it. I originally read it a year ago, when it was released in Australia, and now that it has been released in the US and UK, I'm thrilled that Clancy has the chance to find a wider readership.

We’re sitting there with matching milkshakes, Sasha and me, and somehow, things aren’t going like I always thought they would. We’re face to face under 24-hour fluorescents with the thoroughly unromantic buzz of aircon in our ears and endless flabby wedges of seated trucker’s arsecrack as our only visual stimulus.

In a dead-end town like Barwen a girl has only got to be a little different to feel like a freak. And Clancy, a typical sixteen-year-old misfit with a moderately dysfunctional family, a genuine interest in Nature Club and a major crush on the local hot girl, is packing a capital F.

As the summer begins, Clancy’s dad is involved in a road smash that kills two local teenagers. While the family is dealing with the reaction of a hostile town, Clancy meets someone who could possibly—at last—become a friend. Not only that, the unattainable Sasha starts to show what may be a romantic interest.

In short, this is the summer when Clancy has to figure out who the hell she is.