The Build-Up Season by Megan Jacobson (Penguin Random House Australia)
Iliad’s troubled relationships with her hippie, astrology-believing mother and her hard-edged grandmother control her ability to allow closeness with anyone else. Friendship is alien and she pushes it away, fighting physically against attempts to involve her in fun. When she discovers Jared, she loves him as she has loved her father. She fails to see that this similarity has a deeper, darker layer, which could well prove disastrous.
This aptly titled work uses the build-up to a wet season as background to the tension escalating from a past bitter, violent relationship. Secrets stay hidden as Iliad, an angry, anti-social 17-year-old girl with low self-esteem, becomes an easy target for a boyfriend who appears to be something he’s not. This is both an impressive exploration of love in all its guises and a call to face fear in order to move forward.