Book Review: Cargo by Jessica Au

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cargo by Jessica Au
Published by: Picador (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Publication date: 1st August, 2011
Source:  Thanks to Picador (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Gillian is fifteen, crippled by a tragic accident but dreams of swimming across oceans.
Jacob is fourteen and yearns for his brother's life.
Frankie is fifteen and in love with the new deckhand on her father's boat.
As the story of these three desires intertwine over the course of one lazy summer in a small coastal town, Cargo is by turns heart-wrenching, beautiful and explosive.
In a simple time of truth and change, these are characters who do not know themselves, yet through their innocence we come to understand what it means to be young, and have all the troubles in the world.

My Review:

Favourite Quote:  He pulls back, grins, and she is just young enough to mistake this feeling - this rough, violent swell - for love or something like it.

Wow, Cargo is such a breathtaking story.  I wasn't quite expecting so much emotion from this book.   My heart is still feeling a little raw and tender after finishing it.

Cargo is a real and honest read that captures the lives of three teens Gillian, Frankie and Jacob set in an Australian beach side town, the year 1992.  It is a quick read at just 200 pages told in alternating chapters between these three characters who aren't friends but yet their lives are intertwined.  While it captures some blissful moments of life as a teen and it really focuses on those heart aching times.

Jessica Au's writing is stunning.  Her prose is gorgeous and is full of emotion.  She makes every sentence sound beautiful.

The window grates open under her hands and the breeze is a shock of cold across her cheeks.  When the horn calls for the third time, she feels the sound like the lowest note of a tuba through her ribs.  She can just make out a lone cluster of lights that might be carrier navigating the darkness.  Welded steel on great tracts of open water: she reminds herself that there have been swimmers who have crossed these same distances, some not much older than fifteen.

The characters are compelling.  They each deal with issues that we all struggle with as a teen and you can really feel their angst and pain. While each of their stories held my interest, Gillian's point of view was my favourite.  Completely absorbing and moving.  It really got under my skin and nearly brought me to tears a couple of times.

Overall, Cargo is an impressive debut that is full of heart.  Jessica Au is definitely an author I hope to read more from.

Overall Rating: 4/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Romance: 3.5/5
Cover: 4/5

For more info:  Visit Pan Macmillan Australia

***  This is an Australian author for those of you participating in Aussie YA Reading Challenge.


Belle said...

Your review totally makes me want to read this book, I'll have to look into it! Thanks Nic (for making my wishlist increase again!)

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

I'm with Belle. Now I totally want to read this book and I hadn't even heard of it before this review. The characters sound so compelling and the story itself, so different.

I love stories that leave you a bit wounded because then it's like they really got inside you.

Stunning review. Thanks Nic.

Unknown said...

the cover is beautiful! And given I was just watching Shark Week and thinking about how bad I want to visit Australia (I know weird, that Shark Week makes me want to visit) So, maybe this book will give me the taste of Australia since I can't visit for awhile. Also, what an amazing review = )

Leanna Elle said...

I hadn't heard ot this one before, but it sounds like a great coming of age read! :)

Ange said...

This book looks sooo good. I have to check this book out soon! Once again awesome review Nic!!!

Alix said...

Sounds wonderful. I am completely in love with alternating points of view at the moment, so I must get this.

Alos the cover is fabulous!

Jenny said...

First of all, I absolutely love that cover, it's gorgeous! I'm a huge fan of characters, so the fact that this one has compelling, moving and generally unforgettable characters is a huge huge plus. Awesome review Nic, this sounds like such a great read!

bibliophile brouhaha said...

I'm with Jenny - adore that cover - it feels very old school to me. And I love your review! This book sounds so lovely - wish we had it here!

Nina said...

Wow, I really need to get this book. Sounds very emotional and powerful. I never heard of this book before, so thank you for putting this on my radar. Also loving that it's set in 1922!

Flannery (The Readventurer) said...

Wow, Nic, I'd never even heard of this one but it sounds intriguing. Plus, that is one of the most beautiful covers ever. Totally unique.

Thanks for the heads up!

Anonymous said...

It sounds really good, this one.
I think I'm going to keep an eye out for it :D

Thanks for the lovely review.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Sometimes I stay away from emotional, but sometimes I really want it. The way you wrote this review makes me really want it. Oh and that cover! Just seals the deal. I see why you love her writing. Such a good review!!

A Canadian Girl said...

Even if I had heard of this one, I probably would have skipped it based on the summary. Your review though about the characters being compelling and the story being moving has changed my mind. Now I've got another Aussie title that I need to add to my wishlist.

YA Book Queen said...

This book sounds wonderful, I love historical novels...and I love that cover! :)

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Gosh! Why do you all have such beautiful books over there?! This makes me want to read it so bad. Fab review :)

Nomes said...

you write a gorgeous review nic

this sounds like my kind of book ~ gorgeous prose and emotional (and aussie ;)

Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) said...

I haven't seen this! Great review Nic...added it to the TBR :)

Unknown said...

Great review... i definitely would read this.
i actually really really love the cover even though it sorta looks like nothing special, pretty simple sort of patterning and colours.

Savannah said...

Thanks for this review! I hope that I can get my hands on this book. I like that I can read a book based on real issues.

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