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Jack and Annabel have decided to put off university and drive around the country. It all seems wildly romantic, but when their car dies two days into the trip, they end up at George’s apple orchard. They figure it’s a temporary pit stop—and at first it is. But when Jack recognizes a familiar suffering in George’s family, he and Annabel decide to stay for a while. They’re not sure how to help, but they know they want to try...

This companion to...
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A Place Like This

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Jack and Annabel have decided to put off university and drive around the country. It all seems wildly romantic, but when their car dies two days into the trip, they end up at George’s apple orchard. They figure it’s a temporary pit stop—and at first it is. But when Jack recognizes a familiar suffering in George’s family, he and Annabel decide to stay for a while. They’re not sure how to help, but they know they want to try...

This companion to Love, Ghosts,&Facial Hair captures the difficult search for identity in an isolated place.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Love, Ghosts & Facial Hair, the first of these two tender free-verse books, Jack, an aspiring writer growing up in western Australia, and his family finally cope with the death of his long-dead mother. In its sequel, Jack and girlfriend Annabel trade university for a road trip, ending up only "a few hundred kilometres down the road" working for an apple farmer and getting enmeshed in the farm family's hardships. Writing from multiple perspectives and with sentimentality tempered by humor, Australian author Herrick produces complicated characterizations and communicates warmth. In Love, Jack recounts a story his sister told him of his mother getting her cancer diagnosis ("that day was the middle of a heatwave/ but she shivered/ as she stepped from the surgery/ and saw Dad waiting in the car/ and both of us/ waving from the back seat./ she knew/ the doctor, the heatwave/ or this death/ couldn't touch her"). Off-topic poems in the first book, about a new teacher, or Annabel's poetry assignment, detract slightly, and Place may feel a bit saturated in problems (not only has the farmer's wife abandoned the family, but the oldest daughter is pregnant after a rape). On balance, however, poems about Jack and his dad trying to tear down an old playhouse in Love, or Emma making promises to her unborn child in Place ("and I touch my stomach/ and I whisper,/ `I won't ever leave you/ I won't ever...' ") provide lasting and believable images. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Love, Ghosts, and Facial Hair introduces Jack, his older sister Desiree, and his widowed father. Jack is desperately trying to figure out life, love, and Annabel Browning. "I'm a normal guy. An average sixteen-year-old. I think about sex, sport, and, nose hair. Sex mostly . . . Desiree! She'll tell me." He has a great relationship with Desiree; at nineteen she seems to have it all together. Mum died of cancer seven years ago, but Jack and Dad are still trying to figure out how to let go of her ghost, not quite ready to move on. The love of Jack's life is Annabel; their relationship progresses smoothly from a tentative, initial-signed valentine through a nervous first date, to physical intimacy: "And I'm thinking as our bodies meet that I'll remember this forever and I just hope it's for all the right reasons." A Place Like This follows Jack and Annabel as they take a year off from university to wander. The road takes them to the orchard, picking apples for George and befriending his daughter Emma, who is pregnant at sixteen after being raped at a drunken school party. Stoic acceptance, not bitterness, governs this family. Annabel and Jack pick apples and make love in the hay, relishing the rhythm of farm life and the camaraderie. Life, like Jack and Annabel, moves on after the harvest. Herrick, one of Australia's most popular poets, crafts two slim free-verse novels to delve intimately into Jack's life. The spare poetry distills the strong emotions of loss, first love, and first sex. Teen readers will easily identify with Jack because his longings are universal. This reviewer has one caveat: Protected sex is mentioned only once in Love, Ghosts, and Facial Hair, and not atall in A Place Like This, yet sex is a strong theme in both books. VOYA Codes 3Q 4P S (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Simon Pulse/S & S, 144p., Trade pb. Ages 15 to 18.
—Roxy Ekstrom
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Teenaged Jack thinks about sex (a lot), love, Annabel (sex again), nose hair, and his mother, who died of cancer and whose ghost haunts him. His memories-weekend trips with his father and sister, a photo of his mother, science class-are well drawn in first-person free verse. Most of the poems are narrated by the 16-year-old, with some selections by his father or sister. The switch is quick, without warning, and some readers might not realize that the voice has changed. By the end of the book, through numerous growth experiences and a burgeoning relationship with Annabel, Jack is ready to "tell the ghost no more visits/It's not that I don't need her/or want her to stay,/I'm just too old to believe in it anymore-." He's come to terms with the past, ready to face the uncertain future, stronger. In A Place Like This, also written in free verse, Jack, now 18, and Annabel have decided to put off going to university and set out on their own. They enjoy one another, sex, and their freedom. Life leads them to a job at an apple orchard, where Jack realizes, "This is not what I planned./I wanted lonely beaches with Annabel/and bush camping beside a river-." Instead, the two pick apples for 10 hours a day, sleep in a shed, and get entangled with their employer's pregnant daughter. Jack is drawn to help Emma because of a secret in his past. The story is tied up a bit quickly, and not entirely satisfactorily, but readers remain confident that Jack will survive wherever life takes him, and Annabel, next.-Sharon Korbeck, Waupaca Area Public Library, WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442496729
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 4/16/2013
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 14 years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Steven Herrick is one of Australia's most popular poets. His books for teens include Love, Ghosts,&Facial Hair; A Place Like This; and The Simple Gift.
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Table of Contents

1 Jack 2
2 Jack's Dad 3
3 The stumbling bagpipes 6
4 What Dad said 8
5 For once in my life 10
6 A 1974 Corona 12
7 Annabel on Jack 13
8 Jack driving 15
9 Two days out 16
10 The ride 18
This quiet land
11 Haybales 22
12 The farm 23
13 Craig 24
14 This quiet land 25
15 The shed 26
16 Craig on his Mum 28
17 My Dad says ... 30
18 Beck talks 31
19 Screwed 34
20 School photos 36
21 Colours 37
22 Annabel and babies 38
23 The dew-wet grass 40
24 Lucky Emma 41
25 Emma 43
26 Annabel 44
27 Emma and her Mum 45
28 Lucky 47
29 George 48
30 Like a drunk ... 52
31 Emma and the memory 53
32 Staying at school 55
33 Emma's dream 56
34 Sunday Annabel 58
35 Rich, smart, or stupid 60
A place like this
36 Annabel dreams 62
37 Jack 64
38 The Department lady 65
39 Annabel on love 67
40 Emma replies 69
41 He asks 72
42 A gentle kick 74
43 Jack's plans 75
44 Uncle Craig 77
45 Different 78
46 Saturday night 80
47 The snake 82
48 Annabel's snake 84
49 Beck's snake 85
50 Naming rights 86
51 Cheers 87
52 Emma and apples 88
53 Emma 89
54 Craig hates school 91
55 A place like this 92
56 Weird 94
57 Craig and the cows 96
58 Annabel is ready 97
59 Jack and the beach 99
60 Annabel 100
61 Making sense 101
62 Annabel and the car 103
63 Craig 104
64 Birth classes 105
65 The perfect sky 106
66 Annabel and George 107
67 Annabel 109
68 Craig and his mad dad 110
69 Craig and cricket 112
70 Emma and the right way 113
71 Guts 115
72 Emma and leaving 117
A young orchard
73 A young orchard 120
74 Annabel 122
75 Now 123
76 Emma and her Dad 124
A full tank
77 Craig knows 130
78 It's time 131
79 Annabel and the orchard 133
80 For the sun 136
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