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Mallee Boys

Charlie Archbold

Mallee Boys
Sometimes I feel like I'm neither one thing nor another. I live in the Mallee but I don't like the desert. I live on a farm but I get hay fever and I'm scared of goats. I like school but my best mates don't. I'm stuck between stuff. It's like I'm not meant to be here but I am.

Sandy Douglas knows that life at fifteen is hard, but it's even harder when your mother died a year ago and nothing's gone right since. His brother Red, on the other hand, is eighteen now and working the farm. He's amped up on rage and always looking for a fight. And then there's their dad Tom. He does his best, but - really - he doesn't have a clue.

As Sandy and Red deal with girls, dirt biking, footy and friendship, both boys have to work out who they want to be, without their mum around. The Mallee, where they live, may seem like the middle of nowhere, but it turns out this is going to be one hell of a year.

Winner of the 2016 Adelaide Festival Unpublished Manuscript Award

Honour Book in the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers Award

Praise for Mallee Boys
'A well-paced and ultimately suspenseful tale full of convincing and engaging characters.' - Katharine England, Advertiser

'Only a teacher/writer like Charlie Archbold could produce a book like this. Those among us who have taught in country towns as young teachers will recognise the character types and the sorts of activities that young kids get up to. Archbold’s teaching under the skies in the bush provides the authenticity that her tale of the Mallee Boys must have.' - Ian Lipke, Queensland Reviewers Collective

'The Australian agricultural community of The Mallee is atmospheric and Charlie Archbold is an exceptional debut author. A dedication to rural communities throughout our sunburnt country.' - divabooknerd

'A wrenching, real story about grief and survival.' - Claire Saxby, Aussie Reviews

'A story of love, mateship, growing up in the country and chasing your dreams. While a YA book, it's engaging for adults, who will be transported back to those awkward teenage years and may find it's hard to fight back that lump in the throat at the climactic end. A hidden gem.' - Shelley Hadfield, Herald Sun

'Charlie Archibold ... explores masculinity with great perceptiveness and verisimilitude. It's a novel that teenage boys will recognise themselves in - a feat difficult for any writer to achieve.' - Cameron Woodhead, Age/Sydney Morning Herald

'I liked the way that awkwardness, lack of confidence and heart-ache were portrayed so realistically within a plot which presented every-day rural life simply and unapologetically ... This refreshing and intelligent story suits readers 13 and over.' - Rob Welsh, ReadPlus

'The stories of Red and Sandy will reverberate with many young men, as they interact with their Dad, juggle responsibilities, hang out with their mates, try to figure out girls and process their grief ... A great tale about living with grief and regret, which is suitable for readers across the young adult spectrum.' - Tara, The Big Book Club

'Readers of all ages will enjoy this book, and Charlie Archbold has shown she possesses the talent to produce many more books to entertain her awaiting audience.' - Carl Delprat, Compulsive Reader

'A sweet, poignant novel.' - Connie Spanos, Kids' Book Review

'An engaging book about growing up, about facing some of the hardest challenges, and most of all about being male. It’s a book that has something to offer both rural and urban young Australians, and I hope it gets widely read.' - Sue Terry, Whispering Gums

'Mallee Boys is about small communities, their closeness and their isolation. It’s about families and how they fracture and how they heal and about friendships and honesty. With an exuberant cover, compelling characterisation and a rural sensibility this novel will be an excellent choice for many Year 9 to 11 classrooms, in the bush and in the city.' - English in Australia

'It's a book that feels like its characters and events are real and that's what makes it so effective. The book is easy to read as the characters are sympathetic and it manages to get the reader rooting for them ... This book would appeal to readers who enjoyed The Shadow Girl by John Larkin and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.' - Romany, age 15, YARR-A

'An enthralling novel that captures the unique voices and lives of two young brothers living in rural Australia ... A highly enjoyable coming of age story.' - Madison, Madison's Library

'Mallee Boys is not an edge of the seat thriller. It is a gentle story of the day to day activities of the two boys and their father. There are poignant moments, brawls, girl trouble and laughter – the ongoing battle with the snake had me in fits of laughter ... A wonderful debut book from author Charlie Archbold she has captured Teen angst perfectly and I am not surprised that it has been nominated for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers Award.' - Sally Roddom, Books and Musings from Downunder

'Explores maleness with great insight and credibility.' - Rama Gaind, PS News

'This is a masterly look at three men in crisis, not talking to each other, relying on the daily routines to get them through each day. Each quietly feels some guilt at Ellie's death and it takes another accident for each to open up and finally come together. The setting is brilliantly reconstructed, offering another obstacle for each to surmount - the isolation a constant problem for each of them, as Sandy wants to further his education, Josh has a girlfriend two hours' drive away and they all need help that is not offered in the bush.' - Fran Knight, ReadPlus

'The great strength of the book ... is the sense of complex authenticity it brings both to its characters and to its distinctive, vividly realised setting.' - Judges' comments, CBCA Book of the Year Awards

Charlie Archbold was born in London. She completed a degree in drama before training as a teacher and has worked as an educator for twenty-five years. She recently completed a Master of Education in Studies of Asia. After travelling extensively she settled in Australia and lives with her family in Adelaide. Mallee Boys is her first novel.

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Format Paperback
Size 210 x 140 mm
ISBN 9781743055007
Extent 216 pages
Price: AU$24.95 including GST
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