Take Three Girls – Cath Crowley, Fiona Wood, Simmone Howell – Pan Australia – Published 29 August 2017




Ady – not the confident A-Lister she appears to be.
Kate – brainy boarder taking risks to pursue the music she loves.
Clem – disenchanted swim-star losing her heart to the wrong boy.

All are targeted by PSST, a toxic website that deals in gossip and lies. St Hilda’s antidote to the cyber-bullying? The Year 10 Wellness program. Nice try – but sometimes all it takes is three girls.

My thoughts

Take Three Girls is contemporary #LoveOzYA fiction at its best. And yet, Take Three Girls is transferable to any society, any country which experiences the troubles of bullying, social media dangers, and relationship breakdown. With a no-holds-barred approach, Take Three Girls takes some serious and seriously important topics and meets them head on. What results is an open, honest, and refreshing novel that clears the way for some vital conversations.

Clem, Ady, and Kate. Three girls who attend the same school, but who otherwise don’t have a lot in common. Or at least, don’t think they do. When these three girls, like many others, are targeted by an abusive website spreading horrifying false information and sexual harassment, they are thrown together, not only in class but as they face the challenges of a cruel online world and culture.

This book’s title and synopsis might reference three girls, but really it is about hundreds of girls attending a high school, thousands of girls affected by a website spreading online bullying and abuse, and millions of girls and women facing the same abuse and culture of abuse around the world. In this way, Take Three Girls is about so much more than just three girls, but it does show how three girls can change the way they view each other and themselves, and how offering support rather than further abuse or criticism can make such a difference.

As I write these words, the news is reporting the suicide of a young girl, attributed to bullying and online abuse. Surely books like Take Three Girls can only help to raise awareness that words or pictures shared online (or indeed face-to-face) can have such a devastating and lasting impact.

Take Three Girls is well-written, and cleverly incorporates documents from the school wellness program, chapters from each of the three girls’ perspective, and letters which they have written to themselves. The balancing of the three writing styles that have combined in this book is flawless.

Take Three Girls is brutally open and honest about sensitive topics. Sex, sexual harassment, drug addiction (in adults), relationships with older men, sibling relationships, family breakdown, body image, financial troubles, and of course bullying and cyber bullying, are all handled with much needed honesty. Mixed with topics of sport, music, passions and dreams, fashion, art, positive relationships, LBGT, and friendship, Take Three Girls provides an ultimately hopeful and approachable book.

More information

Category: Young adult fiction.

Genre: Contemporary.

Themes: Dating and sex, relationships, cyber bullying, bullying, boarding schools, Australia, high school, friendship, romance, music, sport, swimming, art, fashion, LBGT, body image, siblings, family.

Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.

Advisory: Strong, frequent sexual references, implied sex scenes, references to mast********, nude photographs and sexual harassment. Strong frequent coarse language, f***, sh**, sl**, bit**, pi**, ars*****.  Drug use and references.

Published:  29 August 2017 by Pan Australia.

Format: Paperback, ebook. 439 pages.


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