Saturday, April 27, 2013

"Runaways" - new verse novel

I've missed posting this month because I've been writing - around 30,000 words of a new SF novel for my Hamline creative thesis, plus a new project for Penguin. But now I'm taking a little time out to celebrate the release of my new verse novel, Runaways.

Jack and Cassie are brother and sister, and when Dad turns up and takes Jack away "on holiday", Cassie is not convinced. But Jack is a difficult kid and Mum doesn't seem bothered that he's gone.
But Jack is a long way away, with a dad who gets a better offer, so Jack takes to the road. He knows where he's going - he's following a story Cassie used to tell him. But is she brave enough to join him?
And can you ever really run away? Or does it just make things worse?
Here's an excerpt:

three years since
we’ve seen Dad
and suddenly he’s back
flashing fifty dollar notes
buying Mum perfume
calling us his little buddies

I’m not so little anymore
I know a fake
when I see one
even if Jack doesn’t

that’s what happens
when you’re younger

you believe anything.

Jack wears a grin
from ear to ear
Dad takes him
to the cricket
to the pub
calls him ‘little mate’
Jack soaks it up

but when Dad gives him
fifty dollars
just like that
he gives it to me
that Mum will be angry

she doesn’t say a thing
I hide it anyway
for Jack’s birthday

Jack gets more from Dad
in a day
than Mum gives him
in a year
but it’s totally suss
I know it is
but I stay silent.


out on the highway
trees and trucks whiz past
zzzooom!          zzzooom!

are we there yet?
are we there yet?
no, but
after a while
I feel sick
not car sick but
lonely sick
for Cassie  

and I can’t say anything
because Dad’s hands
are really tight on the wheel
like Mum’s.

we drive and drive and drive
nights and days
like we’re never gonna stop
I’m too hot to jiggle
                        I’m a fried zombie

Dad squints behind
his dark stingray glasses
yells at truck drivers
never wants to stop
even when I have to pee

‘hurry up,’ he says
while I freak out
behind a bush

it’s scary
the dark
wants to suck me in
like a black hole. 

I ask Dad where we’re going
‘you said the beach’

no answer

I ask again
where we’re going
‘what about school?’

no answer

I ask again
‘where are we going?’

I get a whack that
makes my ears ring.

Runaways is available now - $14.95!


The Busy Author said...

That sounds great! I'd love to review it on

Sherryl said...

Gabrielle, I can organise a review copy, I'm sure! Can you email me a postal address at sherrylc1 at optusnet dot com dot au (it's a number 1 at the end of my name, not an L).
I've just volunteered at your blog for VerseDay. :)