• just_a_girl by Kirsten Krauth

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    "… straddles YA and adult literary fiction in the same way as Tim Winton's Breath … Layla's is a unique voice. A beautifully told story.” — Cameron Raynes

  • Kirsten Krauth

    Novelist. Blogger. Editor. My first novel just_a_girl just published. I blog on all things literary and filmy at Wild Colonial Girl

    "just_a_girl is a complex and timely novel, the first book by a strong writer who is not afraid to go to honest, dark places." 
    — Angela Meyer, LiteraryMinded blog

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just_a_girl reviews

Angela Long and her book club read and review just_a_girl at Welcome to My Library.

Angela Long and her book club read and review just_a_girl at Welcome to My Library blog.

Here’s a list of reviews for my debut novel, just_a_girl, released in 2013 by UWA Publishing. If you’d like a review copy, please contact me via this website. If you’re keen to buy the book  in Australia/NZ, it’s available from ReadingsGleebooksBooktopia, in paperback from Amazon, as an ebook from iBooks and Kindle edition from Amazon.com.au. International readers, please contact me direct!


“Ingénue or nymphet, the choice is ours; either way, Layla and her world are real and relevant, and just_a_girl is a must read novel for our time.”

– Angela Long, Welcome to My Library blog. Read review. 3 August 2014.


“This is a super confident debut novel that explores all kinds of issues — online security, teenage sexuality, loneliness, alienation, violence and depression — but in an accessible, easy-to-read way. It should be required reading for parents, but also teenagers themselves — it’d make a terrific novel to discuss in the classroom or a book group.”

– Kim Forrester, Reading Matters blog. Read review. 18 May 2014. Kim gave the book 4 stars.


“The author has an impressive command of language. Each character has a rhythm about their speech, their own idiosyncrasies, and they ring so true. You can hear the edgy drawn-out desperation in Margot, the confidence/confusion/hurt in Layla, the resignation in Tadashi. I have no idea if this book falls into the YA category, and as a reader rather than a marketer I don’t really care. I read Catcher in the RyeHuckleberry FinnThe Outsiders and others when I came upon them, not bothering if I was a similar age to the characters, and devoured grim Russian fiction in my early teens (who knows why) … A good story is a good story, and just_a_girl is a very good story, whatever age you are.”

– Kirsten Alexander, Good Reading and Listening List. Read review. 23 April 2014.


“Layla is so much more than just_a_girl.  The pivotal character in Kirsten Krauth’s debut novel is sassy and outrageous, tough and soft.  At once courageous and timid; worldly and naïve. And I came to care about her deeply. I cared about her mother Margot too.”

– Karenlee Thompson’s blog. Read review. 5 March 2014.


“This is a complex and disturbing novel of loneliness, isolation and the dangers of disconnection. It was a story I enjoyed and that will stay with me for a long time; it will certainly have me checking on the online activities of my children as they get older as well.”

– Beauty and Lace magazine. Read review. 4 March 2014.


“Kirsten Krauth has hit the nail on the head, successfully weaving a poignant and multi-layered voice of ‘busy loneliness’ in the digital age. The three narratives travel through ideas of social networks, online communication and how this affects our relationships with each other in the physical world. This book houses gritty realism, hyper-love and new definitions of what it means to be alone.”

– Klare Lanson, Trouble Magazine. Read review. 10 February 2014.


“just_a_girl invokes the paradox of the age we live in: kids are always connected through social media, but are isolated and vulnerable to perils that their elders cannot fathom.”

– Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers blog. Read review. 12 January 2014. Lisa gave the book 5 stars.


“just_a_girl is a powerful, and often uncomfortable, look at contemporary culture, with Layla at the heart of it, as subject and object, as confirmation and contradiction.”

– Amanda Curtin, ‘Reasons to love a novel: issues and empathy’, Looking Up/Looking Down blog. Read review. 12 January 2014.


“I read much of Kirsten Krauth’s just_a_girl with a feeling of horror. I hope Krauth doesn’t take that the wrong way because horror is a very powerful thing. And when you can make someone feel horrified (for hours) with your words, then I suspect you’re a very good writer.”

– Books Are My Favourite and Best blog. Read review.  11 January 2014. Kate gave the book 4 stars.


“…it was the character of Tadashi who brought something new to Krauth’s novel: his purchase of a life like doll from Japan as a silent companion in his lonely life was original and thought provoking.”

– Angie Holst, Projected Happiness blog. Read review. 7 January 2014.


“Kirsten Krauth’s debut novel is an excellent book. Both powerful and subtle, it hits you hard then softly, tenderly rubs the blow.”

– Shannon, Giraffe Days blog, Read review. 28 December 2013. Shannon gave the book 5 stars.


just_a_girl is one of those books that inspires a lot of thought and talk … Although it’s disturbing at times, Krauth tempers that with the occasional laugh; it’s interesting, complicated, confronting and unusual all at once … just like life. just_a_girl is both a coming-of-age story and one that examines mid-life with perception and honesty, making it a worthwhile book for parents of adolescents, but also for book clubs.”

– Monique Mulligan, Write Note Reviews blog. Read review. 14 December 2013.


“It’s a book that I found compelling, brilliantly written, and on the surface, easy and quick to read. But it was afterwards that the themes still resonated with me: power, relationships, of love and failure, of vulnerability and abuse.”

– Dawn Barker, author blog. Read review. 12 December 2013.


“Perhaps because I spend so much time on the internet and I remember the internet becoming a “thing”, I find books that center around it and our interactions on it, so interesting … Krauth’s exploration of Layla is expertly and intriguingly done … She gives Layla real layers of depth to her that are very easy to see and understand.”

– Bree Testa, 1 Girl 2 Many Books blog. Read review. 26 November 2013. I also did a Q+A with Bree about the book.


“This book should come with a warning.”

– Elizabeth Lhuede, ‘Are Teenaged Girls Just Like That?’, an intensely personal and moving response to Layla (and the idea of Lolita), Devoted Eclectic blog. Read review. 11 November 2013.


“[Layla] is a questioning, self-aware, desiring individual, who is grappling for something firm and good to hold onto in a pretty damn confusing world.”

– Angela Meyer, LiteraryMinded blog. Read review. 8 November 2013.


“… the possibilities [just_a_girl] presents are uncomfortable because they aren’t out of the question, even though the stories aren’t exactly ordinary. Layla’s [life is]  just a few decisions away from yours or mine.”

– Erin Stewart, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, Birdee magazine. Read review. 1 November 2013.


“Layla is the most flesh-and-blood teenaged character I have encountered in Australian fiction for years.”

– Walter Mason, blog. Read review. 22 October 2013.


“[Writing sex] can be at once banal and shocking, as in Kirsten Krauth’s debut novel just-a-girl, with its 14-year-old protagonist, Layla, and her disconnected digital persona (“I start to feel it, slowly, for the camera.”)”

– Damon Young, ‘The Lure of Erotic Fiction’, Sydney Morning Herald, Read article. 1 October 2013.


“The author describes just_a_girl as a work of contemporary fiction, but it also fits into a growing body of Australian young adult fiction that deals with disaffection and the difficulties of negotiating the narrow divide between childhood and adulthood in a world fraught with danger.”

– Sandra Burr, TEXT Journal of Writing and Writing Courses. Read review. October 2013 edition.


“This is a tough book. It’s a necessary book, and one I want to pass on to quite a few people. It’s a book that will make you question our digitized everyday, and yearn for more human connections. It’s a gut-wrenching book, taking readers to dark places and introducing characters on the precipice. It’s about porn/love, isolation/connection, sexualisation/ justification, misogyny/mentality, Facebook and the face-to-face. It’s about our world, right now, and it’s a little bit brilliant.”

– Danielle Binks, ALPHA READER blog. Read review. 21 August 2013. She gives the book five stars at Goodreads.


“[Krauth’s] debut novel is a welcome return to subtlety, ambiguity and the idea of literature as art. The best stories are those that bounce along at a decent clip, while at the same time gradually revealing their complexity, and finally leaving you to contemplate the consequences.”

– Adrian Deans, The Book Hammer. Read review. 10 August 2013.


“The three stories [of just_a_girl] run in parallel, intersecting only occasionally as each protagonist searches for something that will give their life, if not more meaning, then at least something solid to hold on to. As it turns out, both Margot and Layla are looking for the same thing – from the same person, even – but rather than giving them common ground and closing the distance in their relationship, their quests come very close to setting them against each other as rivals.”

– Adam Ford, blog, interview and review. 15 September 2013.


“I would recommend this for parents of adolescent girls who worry about what goes on in their daughter’s lives. But more importantly I would recommend it for those who don’t.”

– Mellisa Wray, from Dream Big … Read Often blog. 12 October 2013. Read review on Goodreads. She gives the book four stars.


“just_a_girl is being listed as adult fiction, but I do think this would be fine for older YA readers. It deals with gritty, confronting subjects, but it’s never graphic …  just_a_girl examines the life of a young girl, exploring her sexuality, as well as the relationship she has with her parents. It’s a story that’s very relevant right now as more and more children spend time online.”

– Mandee, Vegan YA Nerds blog. Read review. 13 August 2013.


“Tadashi brings with him a spectrum of emotions, including snippets of a traditional Japanese childhood, and introduces us to the shadier corners of the internet, that he ventures in to foster his feelings of loneliness and rejection. Reading the chapters from his point of view imparts an instinctively voyeuristic quality, where you are confronted with feeling like a peeping tom, yet my eyes remain glued to the page.”

– Cate Leedman’s reader review, UWA blog. Read review. 29 August 2013.


“Krauth’s debut is alive with ideas about isolation and connection in the digital age, particularly the way the internet raises the stakes of teenage rebellion. Her portrayal of Layla’s sexual experimentation will terrify many a parent, but it’s sensitively judged: not there to titillate so much as to bridge a gap of understanding.”

– Jo Case, The Australian. Read review. 3 August 2013.


Just_a_girl is an adult novel that looks into the heart of teenage life, its darkness and light, and it’s filled with beautiful language that made me drool a little.”

– Ellie Marney, hick chick click blog. Read review (and interview). 13 July 2013.


”… this idea of parents who are more child-like than their children permeates the book – and it’s very crushing and contemporary.”

– Simmone Howell, Post Teen Trauma blog. Read review. 10 July 2013.


“When she speaks about just_a_girl, you can see Kirsten’s care for each of her characters, and her particular pride in their distinct voices: Layla’s choppy speech, punctuated by tangents and expletives (fuckadoodle!), Margot’s long flowing prose, and Tadashi’s more simple and poetic style.”

– Nuala Kane’s wonderful rendition of my first reading and Q+A in Melbourne at Colour Box Studio. 6 July 2013.


“[Layla’s] voice was authentic and likeable, vulnerable but tough in exactly the right ratio, and ultimately this book was un-put-downable.”

– The Incredible and Rambling Elimy blog gives the book four and a half stars. Read review. 6 July 2013.


“A wholly original book whose teenage heroine gets more convincing and complex as the book progresses.”

– Kerryn Goldsworthy, The Age; Sydney Morning Herald. 6 July 2013.

just_a_girl review, The Age + Sydney Morning Herald
just_a_girl review, The Age + Sydney Morning Herald

“Kirsten Krauth’s ‘just_a_girl’ is a tense, edgy and compelling insight into adolescence which I read in a single sitting.”

– Annabel Smith, Goodreads. Read review. 3 July 2013.


“When it comes to voice, Krauth is in her element. Online and offline, every word of dialogue hits its mark.”

– Michelle McLaren, The Newtown Review of Books, Read review. 2 July 2013.


“An honest, gritty and thought provoking story about sex, power, loneliness and the desire to connect meaningfully with another soul.”

– Shelleyrae at Book’d Out blog gives the book four stars. Read review. 27 June 2013.

 

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