#AWW 2019 Victorian Literary Best YA Novel
- Author Ambelin & Ezekiel Kwaymullina
- Title: Catching Teller Crow
- Genre: ghost story (speculative fiction)
- Reading time: 2 hrs 40 min
- Published: 2019
- List of Challenges 2019
- Monthly plan
- Trivia: 2019 Winner Aurealis Award Best Young Adults Novel
- Trivia: 2019 Winner Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards
- Best Writing for Young Adults.
- A ghost girl who is staying with her father while he grieves.
- In doing so, she begins to help him with a murder mystery.
- The hook is the concept that Officer Teller’s
- assistant while investigating a series of murders
- …is his daughter’s…ghost!
- Another hook is the witness’s statement that
- “This thing didn’t start with the fire…It started at sunset” (pg 24)
- And who is Tansy Webster and her angels? Wings flapping? (pg 94)
- Now readers are turning pages
- Loss of a loved one and the stages of mourning or
- …grief are overriding themes.
- Injustice towards the Aboriginal people
- …is also a strong theme.
Parallels: Mike Teller vs Derek Bell
- Both Officer Michael Teller (Beth’s Dad) and
- Officer Derek Bell grew up in small town and
- their fathers were also cops!
- Gerry Bell and Officer Teller sr.
Parallels: Father and daughter –> epiphany moments (pg 132)
- Both Beth (daughter) and Mike Teller (father) have
- epiphany moments:
- Beth realizes she does not belong here (with the living). (pg 130)
- Mike Teller realizes he is blaming himself
- …for an accident he could not prevent.
- He feels he failed his daughter.
- He was holding on to a burden
- …something that was not his to bear. (pg 133)
Contrasts: Father vs son (pg 132)
- Officer Michael teller does not want to be like his
- racist father. He was a police officer who did not do
- enough to protect the Aboriginals.
- Mike did not want to be one of those
- people who didn’t pay attention.
- Officer Teller took any injustice
- ….personally (wife was Aboriginal)
- when Aboriginals are not treated right.
Contrasts: Beth in “Catching Teller Crow” vs Else in “The Endsister”
- Narrator Beth is just about the same age as Else in The Endsister
- One is dead….one is still alive
- …one is cheerful….and one is confused, isolated.
- Beth shows no signs of ‘the teenage brain’ as did Else.
- It seems once you’ve died…all your problems disappear!
- ….mood swings, erratic behavior, ill-tempered….
- I will try to find a moment in Beth’s
- narration that shows her in a bad mood!
- Yes, she does cry….she had to make an important decision
- …about the colours.
Strong point: Beth’s ghost is Detective M. Teller’s assistant
- This is a great plot device.
- Beth can linger in places once
- her father has left to eavesdrop
- on suspects conversations and actions!
Strong point: Role reversal literary device (pg 11)
- “He and I were the reverse of each other:
- I couldn’t remember my death;
- Dad couldn’t remember my life…” (pg 11)
- Another role reversal….
- Dad was looking after Beth when his wife died.
- That had kept Dad going.
- Now Beth was looking after her Dad
- ….to keep him going. (pg 13)
Strong point: Writing style varies… for certain effects!
- Chapters about CATCHING...
- Isobel speaks in staccato sentences.
- Staccato sentences are short and often emphatic to
- focus the reader or listener on content.
- This technique borrowed from poetry intensifies
- Catching’s aboriginal storytelling…
- with base emotions….earthy!
- This conveys certain kinds of emotions in particular,
- namely fear, anxiety, anger, confusion and stress.
Strong point: Izzy’s storytelling
- These chapters are fun to read.
- You can lose yourself in them…
- let you imagination soar.
- I’m sure YA readers can find something
- in these tellings to hold on to.
- I enjoyed these next few lines:
- — Courage eats fear.
- — Joy eats sadness.
- — Choose the opposite of grey.
- This was absolutely a stunning novel!
- I’ve never been so entertained reading YA fiction.
- I think the storytelling (Aboriginal influences) was spot on.
- But the most important part of the book for me
- ….was how people dealt with grief. (Officer Mike Teller)
- They say time is a healer.
- But grief is always in the hollow of your heart.
- It’s just waiting for something to shake it out.
- Beth was there to shake it out of her Dad.
- Because loss never really leaves you.
- Loss alters you.
- #MustRead….worthy winner
- Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards
- Best Young Adults Novel 2019
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