I’ve spent the last 24 hours with a 17-year-old boy inside my head. Which would be pretty baffling if I hadn’t finished reading the amazing the edge of the limits, where the voice emanates from
Sam Knox is in an eight day school survival camp, and it is his voice and his life that is so clear and strong and present with me right now. Celebrated author SJ Gervay has written a groundbreaking book that addresses issues of connection, courage, and consent with a visceral reality that is gripping from start to finish.
A coming-of-age story in every sense of the word, this intimate and compelling first-person narrative keeps the reader tumbling through the pages.
Guided by our protagonist Sam, who has seen things he can’t unsee, we take an instant deep dive into both the action-packed walk-through and into Sam’s psyche.
Here, we are privy to the bewilderment, grief and anger over the death of his grandfather, a confused silence after witnessing a classmate sexually assault a girl, the belief that he is in love, disconnection, bitterness, surprise, concern. All of these things coexist within Sam, and the reader witnesses how they unfold, not in labored exposition but rather in such things as a punch in the arm, an aggressive phrase, or a helping hand in the mud. -pit.
There is so much to like about this book and so much to confront. Sentences are often clipped and choppy, which perfectly represents the way Sam talks and thinks. The action is thick and steady, with no room for an exhalation, so the story moves along at a breakneck pace and often with a sense of foreboding or threat. Then too, there are layers of tenderness, compassion and friendship.
Action-packed, incredibly exciting, hormonal and calm (sometimes all at the same time!), this walk through the NSW wilderness transports us fully into the world of the male adolescent. Through Sam’s eyes and body, we travel through the gamut of emotions with the intensity and sometimes confusion of an adolescent mind and body grappling with enormous problems.
This is indeed the story of a young man on the brink of limits.
On a threshold.
It is indecipherable.
Read Susanne’s Recent Guest Post about his inspiration and hopes behind this powerful new novel.
Title: the edge of the limits
Editor: Flying Elephant, $15.99
Publication date: November 2022
Format: Pocket book
By ages: 14+
Write: young adult fiction