When Only One by Meg Gatland-Veness
‘There’s someone in the school. They’re holding something in their hands. Something terrifying.’
1984. Sam lives with his mum, dad and four brothers in a small farming town and life is pretty good. He works as a lifeguard at the local surf club, is saving to buy his first car, trains with his friends for the Ironman, and on Sunday afternoons he and his family take care packages to their less fortunate neighbours. Then, five years since they last spoke, Emily Burrow climbs through his bedroom window and back into Sam’s life.
Emily’s life couldn’t be more different. She lives with her mother, who struggles with mental health, and sometimes her alcoholic father, but it’s better when he’s not there. There’s no hope for Emily’s future, and she seems to be the only one who both knows and accepts it. That’s why, to Emily, help is just not necessary.
The new school year brings a heap of changes. Emily starts to hang out with Sam and his mates. A new girl arrives and Sam is smitten, but she brings with her unexpected adjustments. And Sam’s friend Miles faces the biggest challenge of his life. When tragedy strikes one sunny afternoon, everything they thought they knew about growing up will change and they will be forced to face adulthood head on.
From the bestselling author of I Had Such Friends comes a gritty novel, full of heart, that shines a light on kids who are doing it tough in a rural Australian town.