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BOOK ABOUT ONLINE WORLD A VALUABLE READ FOR TEENS AND ADULTS
KATE McCaffrey knows how to appeal to a young audience; after all, she spends most of her time inspiring teenagers to become more interested in literature. An English teacher at Sacred Heart College, McCaffrey immerses herself in the literary world daily, so it was far from a stretch when she decided to take up writing herself.
Ten years after her first young-adult novel Destroying Avalon hit the shelves, and with three more between it and her new offering Saving Jazz, McCaffrey said she tried to write stories and characters that teenage readers could relate to.
Her new book is no different, focusing on the dangers of social media and online bullying through the eyes of character Jasmine Lovely.
“Saving Jazz is about a house party that goes out of control,” she said.
“Jazz, from all appearances, has it all, the looks, intelligence and compassion.
“However, she finds herself the perpetrator of a horrible act, one that she struggles with daily.”
Not just for teenagers, McCaffrey said adults could also learn about the perils of the online world and the dangers it posed.
Cockburn Gazette16 Aug 2016 Jessica Nico
Picture: Martin Kennealey http://www.communitypix.com.au d455838
Author Kate McCaffrey with Year 11 students Olivia Fernandes,Bianca De Longis, Tess Dorrington and Eva Male.
“I think it will appeal to parents who don’t know about the existence of this world and definitely teachers who think it’s a conversation we need to have,” she said.
“The anonymity that the internet provided has been superseded with a lack of privacy.
“Where we once lived in fear of being bullied, we now live in fear of our mistakes being paraded around the world for everyone to see. Cyber bullying is never going to go away and, in all of its forms, it can have devastating consequences.”
Saving Jazz is at http://www.fremantlepress.com.au.
It was a great turn out on Tuesday night- despite the wet weather and the Census Epic Fail. About 150 guests turned up to greet Saving Jazz as she enters the world!
My thanks to Catherine Kolomyjec and her team at Sacred Heart for all their work. Peter Bothe ( and Trevor Lynch) for so graciously allowing Sacred Heart to host it. Justin Whitt for an amazing job as the official launcher. Bianca, Zoe, Anthony for their contributions on the night. All of my students who had an input and interest in the development of the novel. Fremantle Press, in particular Cate – for her ongoing support and Naama for her meticulous editing and appreciation of who Jazz is.
And Jasmine Lovely is officially here…
Kris Williams and Norman Jorgensen
The book launch is nearly upon us and the reviews are starting to come out… so far, so good…
Writing WA: Love to Read Local
In Saving Jazz, the lives of Jasmine Lovely and her friends are destroyed after a sexual assault at a party goes viral. The narrative takes us beyond the immediate aftermath of the assault and shows its long-term consequences, as well as the complicated moral landscape Jazz finds herself traversing. The novel deals with gender relations, the power of the internet, and personal responsibility in a comprehensive and compelling way; this is a book that will keep you up all night and keep you thinking for weeks afterwards. Saving Jazz is McCaffrey’s most powerful book yet, and it deserves to be widely read and discussed.
Here it is, my latest novel, and to date, my favourite yet. The novel is written as a blog, from the point of view of Jasmine…
Post 1: In the beginning
My name is Jasmine Lovely, Jazz usually (unlessI’m in trouble), and I’m a rapist. In fact, I’m guilty
of more than just rape but, as my lawyer says, in the interests of judicial fairness, we can’t be prejudicial. It’s hard enough to admit to rape. As a girl, it’s exceptionally hard. People look at you blankly. Not that it’s something I admit to in company, like I just did to you. I don’t normally preface my introductions with that abrupt statement, and I’m not part of a self-help group, where you hold your hand up, state your name, then your addiction, affliction, crime.
But this is the truth. I’m sixteen now, but twelve months ago that is what I did, I raped a girl. Her name was Annie Townshend. I could sound all David Copperfield and say, ‘To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday,’ but I’m not recording this as an act of prosperity. In fact, I’m really just creating this blog to address everything. This platform is where things began, so I guess this is where I set the record straight.
The novel is Jazz looking back on an event that went viral, one that shaped her existence…
This is what Fragments of Life had to say about it…
Jazzmine was a flawed and lovable character. At the beginning of her blog posts, I was able to see a Jazzmine who was determined to fit in well with her peers, at her school and in her community. She tried to be as pleasing as she could be, with her pretty face, her pleasing personality and her high grades. She ran with the popular crowd. She partied hard like the rest of the Greenheads. However, unlike her meaner friends, Jazz actually had a heart. She was really bothered by the way boys viewed girls, like they were objects. She was also bothered by the slut-shaming going on in her school, as manifested in social media platforms Facebook and Snapchat.
Jazzmine’s involvement in the Greenhead party, the night that changed everything, would be an integral albeit painful part of her life. I liked her growth and transformation throughout the book. After the whole thing blew up, Jazzmine’s parents kept her isolated in their home. Jazz felt the distance between her and her parents, as if they couldn’t quite look at her. She also lost her two closest friends, Annie, the victim, and Jack, her longtime best friend. She felt alone in all of the chaos and the roller coaster of emotions. I liked how Jazz took the long but difficult road after the incident. She tried to fix her life and get back on track, even if the road itself was already crumbling to dust. Through it all, she has matured and could then look at the world from a different perspective.
I liked how friendship was discussed and dissected in Saving Jazz, especially between Jazz and Jack and between Jazz and Annie. Jazz and Jack have been friends for years, since the first day of Jazzmine at her new school. Jack has been with her through the good times and the bad times. He held her hand during her first period. He defended her when someone picked on her. Jack was a constant in her life, always there by her side. As Jack and Jazz grew up, things started to change. I really loved how the author dissected Jazz and Jack’s friendship through all the things they have been through.
Frank was one of the reasons why I liked this book so much. He was a cheerful, charming and handsome barista. He was the love interest. Although he was just found in small scenes, I found his presence in the book to be overwhelmingly inspiring. He worked at Chicco, the best coffee shop in the area. As a coffee lover myself, who has spent hours and hours in cafes, I enjoyed the sections with Frank and Jazz in the coffee shop. It was a breather from all the heavy emotional, guilt-stricken plot. The author balanced out the good and the bad with enough charm and humor.
In the end, I gave Saving Jazz 4.5 cupids because I was beginning to forget some of the small details of the book a few days after reading the novel. Saving Jazz is a gritty, suspenseful contemporary that delves into the side of humanity that is linked and almost always submerged in the waters of social media. Although I knew what was supposed to happen, as Jazzmine took us back to the past with her blog posts, the author managed to keep me sitting at the edge of my seat, with goosebumps on my arms and my heart accelerating. It was a quick read that had me immersed and lost into Jazzmine’s world. The writing was hypnotic and the plot was fluid. There was never a dull moment. I felt like I was riding an almost never ending roller coaster of emotions, zooming through the feeling of being betrayed, guilt, love, loss and the sense of being broken. I highly recommend it to readers of contemporary (particularly Australian contemporary), readers who are looking for pop culture references and a more modern take on realistic stories, and readers who are looking for books that tackle relationships.
Crashing Down by Kate McCaffrey (Fremantle Press)
PB RRP $19.99
Reviewed by Neridah McMullin
Crashing Down is an engaging, insightful and realistic read for teenagers and adults alike.
This story is fast paced and fun and McCaffrey uses common turns of phrase that are engaging and accessible to today’s teenagers. Her writing voice and narrative is strong and genuine and written in an Australian cultural context that we would all understand.
Lucy is in Year 12 and under pressure to succeed. The last thing she needs is an intense boyfriend. So Lucy innocently breaks up with Carl at the school dance. She admits it wasn’t great timing with exams coming up, but it felt like the only way to keep her dreams on track.
Things haven’t been great with her and Carl for a while now and she knows this is the right thing to do. She feels completely smothered by him and his expectations of the future are so very different to her own. All he can talk about is living locally, with no plans of university, settling down and having kids.
Unfortunately some good decisions can have bad consequences.
Carl leaves the dance angry and hurt and stoned. Driving recklessly, he crashes his car, badly smashing up not only himself but also his best mate JD.
After coming out of his coma, Carl is a changed man. As a result of his brain injury, he’s angry and paranoid and acting completely irrationally. And he can’t remember breaking up with Lucy. She doesn’t want to hurt him so she keeps up the pretense.
Everyone is extremely upset and then McCaffrey throws in a curve ball that will send you into a spin: Lucy is pregnant. She tells Carl she doesn’t want to keep it and he has a brain aneurism! His parents then slap an ‘injunction order’ on Lucy to stop her from having the baby aborted.
Wow, this story has got it all. It’s fast past with a winding plot and complex characters. Even so it raises some valid questions about how these situations could be handled.
Crashing Down is written in a distinctive and engaging style and is thoroughly recommended to Young Adult readers.
This is Kate McCaffrey’s second novel and now I’m going to track down her first book to read!
Neridah McMullin is the author of five books for children. Her next book is an Indigenous folklore story called ‘Kick it to Me’. It’s an ‘aussie rules’ story that’s being endorsed by the Australian Football League. Neridah loves family, footy and doing yoga with her cat Carlos (who also happens to love footy!).
It seems appropriate to update this blog with the biggest news of late- my fourth novel Crashing Down was launched last night at Sacred Heart College Sorrento. It was a fantastic night, a turn out of about 140 people ranging from students, teachers, parents through to industry folk- oh, and of course, family and friends. Catherine Kolomyjec did an awesome job organising the event, aided by Emma Killian and supported by some of my Year 10 Lit kids- who were absolute standouts both in front of, and behind, the camera. News from my publisher is that the first print run of Crashing Down is already 3/4 sold! Not bad news to hear on the night of the launch.
Jan Nichols, in top form, dressed as a midwife to “birth” the new baby (the theme of the book being teen pregnancy). The celebrity guest in Norman Jorgensson (Jack’s Island and The Last Viking- to be launched in September at the State Library) was a true crowd pleaser.
The reviews are coming in- the latest can be accessed via this link
And so, a good night was had by all!!
The jacket of Crashing Down
My apologies for the wait between publications, but since Beautiful Monster was released in 2010, a lot of things got in the way- namely life! My dad died and that changed all the dynamics! Since then my family has made huge adjustments- moving houses, changing jobs, and all that fun stuff- but even though I wasn’t publishing- I was still writing. Now, the final proofs are in, the novel is at the printers- review copies are out. And so I’d like to announce to the world the birth of my fourth paperback baby… Crashing Down!
Lucy is in Year 12 and under pressure to succeed. The last thing she needs now is an intense boyfriend. Breaking up with Carl feels like the only way to keep her dreams on track.
But good decisions can have bad consequences.
And leaving Carl is going to be a whole lot harder than Lucy could ever have imagined.