Kit reviews About a girl by Joanne Horniman


I remember when we lay together for the first time and I closed my eyes and felt the crackle of her dark hair between my fingers. She was all warmth and sparking light. When I was with her, my skin sighed that the center of the world was precisely here.

Anna is afraid she must be unlovable—until she meets Flynn. Together, the girls swim, eat banana cake, laugh, and love. Some days Flynn is unreachable; other days she’s at Anna’s door—but when Anna discovers Flynn’s secret, she wonders if she knows her at all. This beautifully crafted novel explores the tension between the tender moments that pull people together and the secrets that push them apart

Joanne Horniman is one of those authors who can get lost in Australian school booklists. She writes strong, lyrical narratives on youth and joy and rage and sadness in a way that feels simultaneously immediate, fierce, and also coloured by poetic, aching nostalgia. Think Margot Lannagan, if Lannagan was a little kinder to her characters. All of this can be a little intimidating, a little distancing.

About a girl, thankfully, never gets lost in its own loveliness. We are given Anna’s story, as she navigates the first intense relationship she has ever experienced outside of her family, her old home, and her childhood. We see her stumble and laugh and lose herself completely in another person, and then slowly learn how to separate out just enough of herself for her own sanity. Her story isn’t always linear, but it’s the sort that resonates in different ways on different days. My writing won’t do it justice—find out for yourself.