Inbetween Days

‘Wakefield has captured small-town life perfectly. There is the stifling sense of everyone knowing everyone, but also the boredom that comes from being a teenager with nowhere to go. In these claustrophobic conditions, she explores love, death and identity.’

Books + Publishing

Inbetween Days

At seventeen, Jacklin Bates is all grown up. She’s dropped out of school. She’s living with her runaway sister, Trudy, and she’s in secret, obsessive love with Luke, who doesn’t love her back. She’s stuck in Mobius—a dying town with the macabre suicide forest its only attraction—stuck working in the roadhouse and babysitting her boss’s demented father.

A stranger sets up camp in the forest and the boy next door returns; Jack’s father moves into the shed and her mother steps up her campaign to punish Jack for leaving, too. Trudy’s brilliant façade is cracking and Jack’s only friend, Astrid, has done something unforgivable.

Jack is losing everything, including her mind. As she struggles to hold onto the life she thought she wanted, Jack learns that growing up is complicated—and love might be the biggest mystery of all.

Friday Brown

‘With a heart-swelling conclusion, Wakefield’s novel contains characters so palpable you can imagine passing them in the street.’

Weekend Australian

Friday Brown

  • Winner, 2014 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature for Young Adults
  • Shortlisted, 2013 Victorian Premier’s Book Award for Young Adult Fiction
  • Shortlisted, 2013 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA)
  • Honour Book, 2013 CBCA (Children’s Book Council Award) Older Readers
  • Shortlisted, 2013 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction
  • Shortlisted, 2013 Queensland Literary Awards for Young Adult Fiction
  • Shortlisted, 2013 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards
  • Shortlisted, 2013 Gold Inky, Centre for Youth Literature

Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run—running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who’d like her to stay. She’s lost, alone and afraid.

Silence, a street kid, finds Friday and she joins him in a gang led by beautiful, charismatic Arden. When Silence is involved in a crime, the gang escapes to a ghost town in the outback. In Murungal Creek, the town of never leaving, Friday must face the ghosts of her past. She will learn that sometimes you have to stay to finish what you started—and often, before you can find out who you are, you have to become someone you were never meant to be.

All I Ever Wanted

‘I read this novel in one gulp, loving every moment of the narrator’s voice and the strangeness of her impoverished life…Though Mim makes mistakes, and plenty of them, this novel contains none. All I Ever Wanted is a brilliant coming-of-age novel.’ Five stars.

Australian Bookseller & Publisher

All I Ever Wanted

  • Winner, 2012 Adelaide Festival Literary Award for Young-Adult Fiction
  • Shortlisted, 2012 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards
  • Shortlisted, 2012 Queensland Literary Awards
  • A 2012 CBCA Notable Book
  • Shortlisted, 2012 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards
  • Shortlisted, 2012 REAL Awards
  • Shortlisted, 2011 Gold Inky, Centre for Youth Literature

RULE NUMBER ONE:

I will not turn out like my mother.

Mim wants to be anywhere but home—in a dead suburb and with a mother who won't get off the couch.

She's set herself rules to live by, but she's starting to break them.

In nine days she'll turn seventeen. What she doesn't know is that her life is about to change forever. And when it does, the same things will look entirely different.

Read Chapter One here

'This is one of the most memorable YA books I've ever read. The voice is original, the characters are real, the language is startling and beautiful. And the plot keeps you trapped till the dangerous but hopeful end.' Cath Crowley, Author of Graffiti Moon

Mim
Mim
Tahnee
Tahnee
Lola
Lola
Kate
Kate

'I read this novel in one gulp, loving every moment of the narrator's voice and the strangeness of her impoverished life...Though Mim makes mistakes, and plenty of them, this novel contains none. All I Ever Wanted is a brilliant coming-of-age novel for teens... Australian Bookseller & Publisher

'Vikki Wakefield is blessed with truly remarkable gifts...Underlying this gorgeous writing is a page-turning plot driven by richly developed, wonderfully diverse characters...While it's both a thriller and a gritty romance, for me All I Ever Wanted is first and foremost a sparkling journey into hope. I loved this book.' Paul Griffin, author of Ten Mile River

'In a tarnished world, Mim is tough and sweet and true. Utterly charming.' Fiona Wood, author of Six Impossible Things

'All I Ever Wanted, I am sure, is a novel that will be lauded, discussed and celebrated, for quite some time. I loved it.' The Book Gryffin

Chapter 1

It’s easy.

Happy pills. At best you’re a dancing queen with a direct line to God; at worst you can fry your brain. Thirty bucks each, retail. They come wrapped in a brown-paper package that fits in your bike basket. Plain view is good because a backpack on a Dodd is asking for an illegal search by a cop.

I pick up the package from Feeney Tucker, a small man with a face like a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces have been pushed together to make them fit. He has a caveman’s brow and a cute, flared Barbie-doll nose. His lashes are long and pretty, his mouth thin and cruel. A thick neck, a pianist’s elegant hands and a strange floating grace like a cartoon maître d’. Dr Frankenstein could have put him together out of spare parts.

Feeney stalls before handing over the package. He makes a call, asks about the boys, and gives it to me grudgingly. After all, I’m a sixteen-year-old girl on a clapped-out, yellow bike—hardly a convincing courier

‘Make haste, little girl,’ he says in a voice like a Dickens chimneysweep.

My reputation and my conscience are going to take a hit. So far, both are clean. My mum says her princess doesn’t need to be involved with ‘the business’. Not with two older brothers who share a couple of hundred brain cells, eleven arrests, two convictions and a sprinkling of bastard offspring. Mum’s words, not mine. But, needs must, Mum’s words again. The boys have got a short stint in remand and we don’t have a car.  There are customers waiting and Fat Mother Dodd—on a bike, with a package—is as probable as life on Pluto.

Feeney shoves me off on my bike and I pedal hard for a couple of blocks. But the sky is blue and birds are singing and what could happen?

I’m thinking, only this one time…it’s not like I’m a real criminal…just two more blocks and I’m home free. Feeling bursts of joy that it’s still summer, that there’s no school for two more weeks. Anticipation is a constant, wonderful state, when my life has gone nowhere for so long and a life-changing event must be imminent. Waiting for fate to step in is almost better than something actually happening.

I hop off and walk the bike. Savour everything, even my paranoid imaginings. In my mind, the package is leaking a trail like Hansel’s breadcrumbs and there’s a queue of shiny, happy people skipping along behind me. I can feel my face burning brown, taste vinegar and chips, smell the odour of hot tar and old oil baked into the melting road. Hear the flip-flop of my thongs and the clack-clack of the wonky wheel. The bike rides too low, the handlebars too high like a chopper, but I don’t care. I’m smiling like an idiot. Days like these I feel innocent and happy, but I don’t know why.

Heat seeps through my thin rubber soles and I hop back on. Pedal in a wavering line. The neighbourhood is so familiar I could make it home with my eyes closed. Nothing changes.

I round the corner by the shops and everything changes.

He’s there. Jordan Mullen, cool and relaxed leaning up against a wall, when my heart’s blown up like a puffer-fish.

Not now, not now. But I know I might not get another chance any time soon, so I drag my toe along the gravel and slow up.

He’s smiling at me like he wants me to stop.

So I stop.

I smile back, but it’s a corpse-grin. My lips are stuck to my teeth and I can feel my hair doing its own thing. There’s grit in my eyes but I can’t rub them because I might miss something.

‘I’ve been waiting for you,’ he says, and I have this moment like in that old movie where the waves roll in and the gulls shriek and there’s nothing but me and him. Except that there are no waves and the gulls are shrieking because the car park is a Macca’s mecca.

‘What for?’ I ask him but forget to bat my eyelashes or some other flirty thing that would make me sound less rude.

He’s not bothered though and I remember why I’ve been in love with him for a hundred years—or at least the last five—because he looks like Leonardo DiCaprio before he got old, and his eyes are like shards of blue glass. It’s a bad-boy face—like when your letterbox gets bombed, and you know if you stake it out for ten minutes, one of them has to come back to check out his handiwork. That’s him, the one who comes back.

So I say, ‘What for?’ again, but kinder this time. He winks at me and I can see myself in something satin and strappy with a freakin’ corsage pinned over my heart which is ready to burst.

Jordan takes my bike by the handlebars, wheels it into the alley behind the shops. The act seems almost chivalrous. I follow, my eyes fixed on the smooth, brown part of his back where his jeans hang low, just so. I’m sleepwalking, reacting, not thinking. This perfect, blue day.

Jordan kicks the bike-stand down and turns to face me. His eyes search mine like he’s found something in there—back and forth, back and forth. I’m mesmerised, as if he was swinging a pocket-watch. My lips pucker even as I tell myself: be cool, don’t sweat, suck in your belly.

Then he says, ‘Give me the package.’

‘What?’ I ask, blinking.

Jordan Mullen is looking at me like I’m something he wants to scrape off his shoe and right then my heart breaks, but somehow beats on.

He says again, ‘Give me the package.’

‘Don’t,’ is all I can say, as if it will make a difference.

He takes the package anyway. He rolls my bike into the dry creek at the end of the alley. It lands upside-down and he walks away. Leaves me standing there.

Jesus, I can’t do anything right.

The next breath I take fills my lungs with despair. I stare at my bike, one wheel skewed like a lazy eye. I leave it there. I leave it because that bike reminds me every day that I could hold my breath between the times I’ve had something I wanted, and lost it—and still live.

The summer holiday is nearly over.

This is not how it’s supposed to be.

 

 

Close ×