“OMG. Year 11 results are out TODAY, my boyfriend is MIA and my mum is acting TOTALLY WEIRD. I’d turn to my BF Kat, that her life has suddenly gone from hero to ZERO. I don’t know who to talk to an everyone’s got their OWN problems. What would life be better if I wasn’t such a STRESSHEAD?”
Stresshead is a light, easy read that is very, very Australian. Told in the voice of Dennie, we learn about her woes with life and pressure to live up to expectations.
I largely liked this book. I related to Dennie (real name: Denise) easily and quickly (I am a huge chronic worrier), however she sort of got on my nerves occasionally with her internal voice. I liked all of the characters. They were all colourful, unique and fiery. Admittedly, I was a little confused in the first few pages; so many characters are introduced so quickly. But I loved the atmosphere, Webster really got the right feeling to it; it felt like a real family.
The plot felt like it was trying to go in ten different directions. It was trying to be funny, yet serious, yet growing up. This led to confusion. The pacing, as well, was also very cruisey – I didn’t feel any inclination to read chapter after chapter.
However, the author really got the voice of a teenage girl, and the writing was good. There were moments when the things Den worried over were so silly they were funny.
Unfortunately, the setting of Sydney wasn’t really used. While the Australian-ess of it all was obvious, I didn’t really get a feel for anything except the feeling when the family are together.
The family, itself is a very, very important element in the book. It really brings home and collects all the mistakes. In their own dysfunctional way, Dennie’s family truly show the essence of family. I applaud Allayne Webster for that.
Overall, Stresshead is an enjoyable book that ensures you that no matter how screwed up you think your family is, the fictional ones are ten times more.
Publication Date: May 1st 2011
Publisher: Omnibus Books
Quote: “I’m toast. I’m burnt toast. I’m the charcoal you scrape off the toast with your knife”