Amelia Westlake Was Never Here


By Erin Gough

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A fiercely funny, queer romantic comedy about two girls who can't stand each other, but join forces in a grand feminist plan to expose harassment and inequality at their elite private school.

Harriet Price is the perfect student: smart, dutiful, over-achieving. Will Everhart is a troublemaker who's never met an injustice she didn't fight. When their swim coach's inappropriate behavior is swept under the rug, the unlikely duo reluctantly team up to expose his misdeeds, pulling provocative pranks and creating the instantly legendary Amelia Westlake–an imaginary student who helps right the many wrongs of their privileged institution. But as tensions burn throughout their school—who is Amelia Westlake?—and between Harriet and Will, how long can they keep their secret? How far will they go to make a difference? And when will they realize they're falling for each other?
Award-winning author Erin Gough's Amelia Westlake Was Never Here is a funny, smart, and all-too-timely story of girls fighting back against power and privilege—and finding love while they're at it.



chapter 1


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about hoaxes. My life, for instance. Lately it feels less like a life and more like a joke. Somebody’s practical joke.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s nothing I can’t handle. Terrible stuff has been happening to me since I was born. Mum and Dad named me Wilhelmina for a start. I’ve had three pets hit by cars. Last winter I was mildly electrocuted by a faulty hair dryer. Then there are the elements that make up my daily slog: Having separated parents on different sides of Australia. Living in a shoebox beneath a flight path. Going to a school full of rich, selfish brats.

But lately things have been particularly vile. Case in point: phys ed this morning. Coach Hadley held me back to swim extra laps along with Ruby Lasko and Harriet Price.

Hadley has always been a jerk, especially to me, although it’s true he likes to pick on most of his students a few times each term. It’s his idea of equal opportunity. Today, though, he reached a special category of loathsome. When Harriet and I finished swimming, Hadley wouldn’t let us go until Ruby completed her laps. It was probably the pressure of us watching that made Ruby trip on a ladder rung on her way out of the pool and crash back into the water.

“Too many muffins for breakfast, hey, Ruby?” said Hadley, grinning.

Now, you don’t need a psychology degree to know Ruby is sensitive about her weight. She forced out a laugh, but I could tell she was working hard not to cry. This time, Hadley had gone too far. “What Ruby eats is none of your business,” I said.

“Come on, Will,” he replied, a twinkle in his eye. He tried to poke me in the ribs, but I stepped out of reach. “I was kidding. Ruby knows it was a joke, don’t you, Ruby?”

Ruby, who was struggling up the ladder again, smiled bravely.

“See?” Hadley threw up his arms. “Why should you mind if Ruby doesn’t?”

What a creep. I shot him a look of disgust. He met it for a second before turning away.

“Prick,” I muttered under my breath.

Hadley whipped around, his expression dark.

I heard the sound of footsteps.

“Will Everhart. What did you just say?” Miss Watson, head of the Sports Department, was standing behind us with an armful of floating aids.

Just my luck. Watson has hated me since I skipped this year’s athletics carnival. Not to mention the ones before that. “Answer me,” she said coolly.

“Fine. I called Coach Hadley a prick,” I said, equally coolly.

Watson’s whole face twitched.

“Well, he is one,” I said, and turned to Harriet Price for backup.

For the record, it’s not that I couldn’t manage Watson on my own. I’ve got experience in Crappy Life Moments, as I’ve said. But I knew that having Harriet’s support would help. She’s a prefect. She’s won debating competitions. Plus, Watson worships her because she plays for the tennis squad. She’s also on some fancy sports committee Hadley set up. She heard what Hadley said to Ruby. She could have called him on it.

The problem with Harriet Price is that she’s also a prime suck-up.

You know those ads for vacuum cleaners so powerful that they can pick up furniture? When I see those ads, I think of Harriet Price: groveling to the principal, or ass-kissing one of the teachers, or giving a speech at assembly about how Rosemead is educating “Australia’s future leaders.”

I shouldn’t have been surprised when, instead of backing me up, Harriet stood there with her mouth hanging open like one of those clown heads waiting for a Ping-Pong ball at the Sydney Easter Fair.

I wish I’d had a Ping-Pong ball.

“I’m sick and tired of these performances, Will,” said Watson, once her twitching face had settled down. “This is not the first time I’ve had to speak to you about inappropriate language, but you’d better hope it’s the last. I am quite frankly disgusted.…”

On and on she went. As she was ranting, I let the sound of her voice wash over me, and my mind wandered to an old movie Dad and I watched a few years ago. It’s called The Truman Show, and it’s about a guy whose whole world is the set of a reality TV show in which he’s the unwitting star.

“You’ll hate it,” Dad told me, by which he meant “you’ll love it.” He and I have been playing a game of opposites since he was feeding me with an airplane spoon. He’s progressed from “you’ll love these mushy beans” to “you’ll love washing the car for me, Monster Child.” In true opposite game spirit I always reply, “You are the best father in the whole wide world,” before giving him the finger.

I was skeptical about The Truman Show. “What makes you so sure I’ll think it’s the worst film ever?”

“Because you love reality television, and the film critiques that whole genre.”

Dad adores the word “genre.” He also likes “hegemony” and “oeuvre.” This is what I’ve had to put up with as the daughter of a fine-arts journalist. But he was right about the movie. It was great. At the end, Truman figures out the whole living-in-a-reality-TV-show thing. He gets in a boat and travels to the domed edge of his bogus world. The boat’s bow pierces the dome’s painted sky, revealing what he’s long suspected: He’s been trapped in a farce.

Watson’s rant went on for so long that I missed half of biology. After that, there didn’t seem much point in showing up for the rest. So I headed to the year-twelve common room for twenty minutes of peace.

I’m sitting there now, eating someone else’s cookies from the fridge and thinking about the final scene from that movie. It’s exactly what I’m waiting for, I realize. I’m hanging out for the day I get to launch a boat off the wrecked shore of my own existence to discover my true unblemished destiny beyond the EXIT sign.

What will I find there? A world in which people like Hadley get what they deserve. A world where my classmates care about sticking up for each other more than they care about whose parents have the most expensive car. A world where there are no teachers, no swimming coaches, no prefects.

And no bloody Rosemead.

chapter 2


I adore my history class. It is one of the absolute highlights of my week. Today’s class is especially wonderful because we are discussing Defining Moments.

“History is about turning points,” Ms. Bracken explains. “I want each of you to share with us one big event that has influenced your life.”

We go around the room.

“When I learned to read,” says Eileen Sarmiento.

“When I got my platinum credit card,” says Millie.

“My first ski trip to Aspen,” says Beth.

Then it is my turn. “In all honesty? My Defining Moment was when I first set foot on the grounds of Rosemead.”

A few loud groans and sick noises come from predictable corners. Apparently it is “in vogue” to be critical of this school and the opportunities we have as students here. I think this is basically a very ungrateful attitude given the fees our parents pay, especially since not everyone’s parents are lucky enough to be oral surgeons as both of mine are.

The truth is, I owe a heck of a lot to Rosemead. If you said, “Harriet Price, please name three reasons why your life is great,” I would answer first that it is difficult to isolate just three reasons because there are so many reasons why my life is great! Then I would tell you the top three excellent aspects of my life, all of which are Rosemead related:

1. My excellent marks.

2. Being on the brink of winning the Tawney Shield for senior girls’ tennis doubles, something I have been working toward for almost six years (as in one-third of my life).

3. Having Edie Marshall, future prime minister of Australia, as my girlfriend.

People think I’m exaggerating when I say Edie will be prime minister one day, but I am definitely not. Not only is she the captain of Blessingwood Girls, our sister school, but she is also a talented sportsperson and the best school-age public speaker in New South Wales. This has been formally recognized by three statewide competitions in which she won first place last year: SpeakOut (topic: “democracy is the best form of government”), SpeakEasy (topic: “fashion victims I have known”), and SaySomething (topic: “discipline is not a dirty word”). After she blitzes the exams this year, she is going to go to university and get a Rhodes Scholarship. And when she comes back from Oxford, she will enter politics, and everyone will vote her in because she is incredible.

I would have never met Edie if it weren’t for the Tawney Shield. We have both been playing in the competition since year nine. This year, Edie and I are competing as a team in the doubles competition against different school groups. This is perfect for us since we (a) are ranked in the top players at Blessingwood and Rosemead, respectively, which are in the same school group, and (b) happen to be going out.

Interesting fact: My mother won the shield when she was at Rosemead, as did my grandmother. They like to tease that if I don’t win this year, I’ll be excommunicated from the family!

After history, I find myself at a bit of a loose end. While Edie and I usually train on Tuesday afternoons, today Edie is hosting an afternoon tea at Blessingwood to raise funds for refugees. I would ordinarily make my way home, but Arthur, my little brother, jams with his band at home on Tuesdays, and although they are nice guys, the music gives me a headache. So when the final bell rings, I collect my things from my locker and head across to the staff building to find Ms. Bracken.

Ms. Bracken relies on me a lot because she knows how diligent and responsible I am. She suffers from arthritis and a few other degenerative diseases, so I like to assist her with odd jobs when I can. When I reach her office, I find her struggling with a PowerPoint presentation. (Ms. Bracken is far from technologically savvy.) I offer to lend a hand.

“It’s perfectly fine, Harriet,” she says, bent over a paper-strewn desk that I am tempted to help her tidy: That level of mess can bring on one of my migraines. “Thank you, but I don’t need your assistance.”

This is exactly the response I anticipated. Ms. Bracken always feels so guilty about taking up my time. “Don’t give it a second thought, Ms. B. I happen to have a free window this afternoon.”

“But I don’t. I’m on detention duty.” She gathers her books.

“Oh. Well, I’m sure we can do the presentation and monitor the detention students at the same time.”

“I don’t know about that.” She hurries down the hallway. “There’s only one student in detention, and she’s in your year. I think that would be awkward.”

“That’s kind of you, Ms. Bracken,” I pant. For someone with arthritis she is walking at a startling pace. “But I’m used to this kind of thing.” It’s true. As a prefect, I constantly have to monitor the behavior of other students, including those in year twelve. I can’t exactly tell off a year-seven girl for failing to wear a regulation Rosemead hair ribbon and not do the same to someone in my own year.

“Awkward for her, I mean,” Ms. Bracken says.

“The presentation will be done twice as quickly with me helping.” I follow her into the detention room.

I hear Ms. Bracken sigh quietly. “Good afternoon, Will,” she says.

That is when I see Will Everhart sitting at the very back of the room, slouched over a notebook.

Oh dear. After what happened at the pool this morning, I really could have done without encountering her again today. She seemed terribly put out when I didn’t defend her to Miss Watson.

I was not comfortable with what Coach said to Ruby. Ruby was clearly upset, and understandably so. But I am sure he was only trying to make a joke, albeit one in poor taste. Anyway, how could I possibly have taken Will’s side? I am Coach’s chosen representative on the school’s Sports Committee. An incredible honor. And as a prefect, I am duty bound to uphold the authority of Rosemead’s staff.

Will Everhart’s problem is that insolence is her trademark. She is one of those girls who thinks asymmetrical haircuts are the definition of “edgy” and who takes every opportunity to show her disrespect for teachers. I personally will never forget our food technology class in year ten when Mrs. Lavender taught us how to cook pad thai with prawns. After everyone agreed it was the most delicious meal of their lives (it was important to be nice to Mrs. Lavender that year; her husband had just left her for a hand model), Will Everhart launched into a story about how prawn trawling kills kilos of unwanted fish that are accidentally scooped up by the nets. She finished by saying we were all morally obliged to be vegetarian, before scraping the contents of her plate into the trash.

That is just the type of impertinent person Will Everhart is.

Now I wish I hadn’t come to detention with Ms. Bracken after all. But it is too late to walk out. Instead, I make a point of greeting Will with a cheery wave.

She does not wave back.

Ms. Bracken puts her laptop on the teacher’s desk and walks up to collect Will’s detention slip. “What have you done this time?” she asks.

“Why don’t you ask Harriet?” Will says, eyeing me with contempt. “She was there.”

I feel a throbbing in my forehead. I hold my mouth in a firm smile and open Ms. Bracken’s laptop.

“Gone quiet again, Harriet—just like this morning?” Will calls.

Really. Why does she have to bring up this morning? She is the most provocative person I have ever met.

Ms. Bracken examines the detention slip. “Swearing at Coach Hadley. Why did you do that?” she asks Will, and not in the weary, slightly cross way she usually asks questions, but more like she is genuinely interested. Her prescription painkillers must have just kicked in.

“Because he’s a sexist creep,” says Will, chin in hand.

I genuinely cannot believe the things that come out of that girl’s mouth. Yes, I can see how some of Coach’s remarks might come across as sexist, but I am fairly certain he does not mean them in that way. He is probably just trying to relate to us. He knows how important it is to hold up Rosemead’s core value of respect regardless of a person’s identity, background, and abilities. Besides, he deserves veneration as our teacher, not to mention in his capacity as a former Olympian. There are photos of him wearing his silver medal in all the Rosemead brochures.

I wait for Ms. Bracken to tell off Will. But instead Ms. Bracken does something I have never seen her do in my entire Rosemead career: She smiles.

“Give me your pen,” she says.

Will hands over a black felt-tip. Ms. Bracken signs her detention slip with it and looks at the wall clock. “Half an hour will suffice, I should think. Feel free to leave at four.”

She marches up to the front again, swipes the laptop from beneath my poised fingers, and walks out of the room.

chapter 3


The look on Harriet Price’s face when Ms. Bracken exits is worth five detentions. For a whole minute she stares at the door, as if expecting her to return. She glances at me. Then back at the door. Then at me again.

I watch her grapple to reinstall meaning and purpose in her life without a teacher to impress. She purses her lips. She readjusts her Butterscotch Blonde™ ponytail. “I suppose Ms. Bracken wants me to stay and supervise,” she says.

“Ah, no.”

Harriet makes a weird huffing sound. “I’ve got a lot to do here anyway. Those chairs at the side need to be put back behind their tables, and the whiteboard needs cleaning, so I’m very happy to keep you company.”

I begin to collect my stuff.

“Where are you going?”

You know what astounds me most? How this school manages to brainwash allegedly smart people. They say Harriet Price is topping the year in math. How can she understand quadratic equations but not the simple fact that Rosemead is a crackpot institution that entrenches blind obedience? Not even Ms. Bracken expects me to stick around. “I won’t tell if you don’t,” I say.

Harriet looks pained. Of course she’ll tell. Not telling would conflict with her screwed-up moral universe. I think again about the scene by the pool this morning, and anger burns my throat.

I try to calm myself. What should I expect? Harriet Price is a lemming who does everything by the book. All she cares about is being a disciple of Rosemead and clogging up her résumé with useless committee memberships. She probably has a private-school boyfriend and a ten-year plan involving the usual marriage-mortgage-kids trifecta as well. Why would she risk a blot on her perfect school record for me?

More trouble is the last thing I need, and four o’clock is only half an hour away, so I resign myself to thirty more minutes in Harriet’s company. At least I can get some drawing done.

Before Harriet and Bracken showed up, I was doodling ideas for my major work, the project that will make up 50 percent of my final-year art mark. I’m massively behind. Everyone else has started their pieces, but I keep changing my mind. I considered doing something about world poverty or global warming, but Mrs. Degarno says that the best type of art does two things at once: It speaks to current events and tells a story about the artist. That’s why my latest idea is to explore the dangers of air travel.

Every time I turn on the news these days I hear about another crash in which hundreds of people have died. It’s been four years since I flew on a plane, and after what happened that last time, I’ve vowed never to fly on another one.

I take up my pen.

I’ve just finished drawing three commercial jets of varying sizes—one exploding, one tearing in half midflight, and one spiraling nose first into a mountain—when I look up to see Harriet staring at me from behind a row of chairs she’s been straightening.


“Excuse me?”

“You’re staring at me.”

“No, I’m not.”

I put down my pen. “Feeling guilty, are we?”

Her eyes widen. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She probably doesn’t even remember what happened at the pool. Why would she care about what Hadley said to Ruby Lasko? Harriet Price wouldn’t have a clue what it’s like to be picked on.

She begins dragging the chairs to the side of the room and stacking them loudly. I go back to drawing planes.

A minute later she says, “What good would it have done? Me saying anything? Miss Watson would still have put you in detention.”

So she does remember. Interesting. “I guess we’ll never know, will we?” I say.

Red blotches appear on her neck and I smile. She marches off to toss around a few more chairs.

I’ve just finished drawing my fourth plane when she pipes up again. “For the record, I don’t entirely disagree with what you said about Coach Hadley.”

I raise an eyebrow. “That he’s a prick?”

Harriet gasps. “I wasn’t referring to that,” she whispers. “I mean what you said to Ms. Bracken. About him being… sexist. He doesn’t mean to be, but it’s definitely true that very occasionally he can be.”

“Very occasionally?”

“Yes. Not at all often. Hardly ever, really.”

It’s a record-breaking backtrack. I rock forward on my chair. “You don’t remember last term when he referred to the ‘nonsupportive’ bra Nakita Wallis was wearing?” I ask.

Harriet looks uncomfortable. “Well, yes. But he was only kidding around.…”

“What about the time he told Anna Yemelin that she was too ‘top heavy’ to be a competitive swimmer?”

She bites her lip. “Swimmers have to have a certain body shape. That’s the reality.”

“Or how he once tried to get us to stretch before class by saying how guys appreciate flexibility?”

Harriet pauses. “I’m pretty sure that was a joke. Admittedly one in poor taste…”

“Then what’s your explanation for how he slapped Trish Burger on the—”

“Okay, you’ve made your point,” Harriet snaps.

I let the back legs of my chair hit the floor. The sound makes Harriet jump. I pretend not to notice. “I’ve got loads more examples,” I say. “It’s a common story. Given how much time you spend at the gym, I’m surprised you don’t have a few stories about Hadley yourself.”

The red blotches on Harriet’s neck darken. I wonder if I’ve hit the mark.

“Even if it’s true that he can be somewhat sexist, girls know he doesn’t mean anything by it,” she says at last. “People love him!”

If that’s her attitude, what’s the point of pressing further? Clearly if Harriet does have stories, she’s not about to share them with me. You can tell just by looking at her how carefully ordered she is. Everything’s so neat and fitted. It’s like her whole being is guarding against the presence of a single loose thread that, if pulled, would unravel Harriet herself.

I leave the thread alone. Instead I say, “Some people love him. Of course, the other possibility is that they’re afraid of being told they can’t take a joke.”

“In any case,” Harriet says, ignoring my theory, “I don’t see what the point is of going on about his behavior, frankly, unless you’re prepared to do something about it.” She must see the disbelief on my face because she adds quickly, “Something apart from calling him a you-know-what to his face, I mean.”

I laugh. Harriet Price is really something—standing like a statue beside a tower of chairs, lecturing me about taking action. “What did you have in mind?” I ask, loading on the sarcasm. “A petition? A meeting with Principal Croon? I tried both of those things last year to break the monopoly the school’s uniform shop has. I got nowhere. I doubt she’s going to sack Hadley on my say-so. Or were you thinking we should have one of Rosemead’s famous charity bake sales? Perhaps we could use a picture of Hadley’s face with the word ‘misogynist’ in red icing beneath it.”

“Bake sales can be very effective,” Harriet says, clasping her hands together like an earnest Maria von Trapp. “When I organized our homeless persons’ bake sale—”

“I was being sarcastic.”

“I know that,” she says crossly. She strides across the room in an attempt to look purposeful. I’m unconvinced.

“How about you write an article for the school paper, then?” she calls over her shoulder. “You’re friends with Natasha Nguyen, aren’t you?”

I’m surprised Harriet knows this. Still. What a crappy idea. Nat’s the editor of the school paper, but that doesn’t automatically mean she’d publish something written by me. She’d bang on about her editorial integrity first. “What would be the point of a stupid article?”

“To draw attention to the issue, if that’s what you’re so keen on doing.”

I snort. Doesn’t Harriet know that drawing attention to issues is what I’ve been trying to do since I arrived at this school over two years ago? I’ve pushed for a fund-raiser for Indigenous Literacy Day. I’ve campaigned for energy-efficient lighting. Fat lot of good that was ever going to do, given the chair of the school board is also the deputy CEO of its electricity supplier. “Take it from me, Harriet. If it’s good for the world but bad for Rosemead, they won’t change a thing,” I say.

She hauls a table across the room, its legs screeching. “If you’re not prepared to do anything, then please stop complaining,” she says.

It takes me a moment to recover from such blatant hypocrisy. Another moment passes as I wait for her to finish maneuvering the table against the back wall. She can’t be serious about calling out Hadley’s sexism in the school paper. It doesn’t exactly align with her blind allegiance to Rosemead.

I decide to call her bluff. “All right. You’ve convinced me. Let’s write an article.”

Harriet looks shocked. She sits down on the table with a thump. “I didn’t mean I wanted to help. I can’t be involved.”

Just as I figured. “Why not?”

“I’m a prefect.”

“That’s exactly why you should be involved,” I argue, twirling my pen.

“Oh my God. I can’t write something like that about a teacher,” she says, swinging her legs. “Like him or loathe him, Coach Hadley is a notable public ambassador for Rosemead. He has put this school on the map.”

I study her. “Do you really believe that crap?”

Harriet blinks. “Excuse me?”

“Something tells me you know it’s bullshit. If you don’t, fine. But if you do…”

“Then what?”

“Then you’re a fucking coward, Harriet Price.” My pen twirls off my fingers. It crashes to the floor and rolls across the room, landing right beneath her swinging feet.

Harriet bends over and snatches it up.

It’s worth eleven bucks, that pen, and I nicked it from Mrs. Degarno’s art supply cupboard only an hour ago. I scrape back my chair.

When I reach her, she slips back onto the table and holds the pen away from me.

Talk about high maintenance. If she wants me to grovel, fine. “I shouldn’t have said that.” I put out my hand for the pen.

Harriet grips it tighter.

I sigh. “Calling you a coward was going too far.”

Looking me square in the eye, Harriet holds the pen high above her head.


  • Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best YA Books of the Year (2019)

    2020 CCBC Choices List
    2020 Rise: A Feminist Book Project List (Young Adult Fiction)
    The Readings Young Adult Book Prize Winner (2018)
    Shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards (2018)
    Shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards (2019)
    Winner of the 2019 Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature
    Shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature (2019)
    Shortlisted for the 2019 Gold Inky Award
    Shortlisted for the 2019 ABIA Awards - Book of the Year for Older Children (ages 13+)
    The White Ravens List (2019)


  • "Sharp-witted and unapologetically queer, with an opposites-attract romance I absolutely adored."—Malinda Lo, author of Ash and A Line in the Dark

  • "The novel is a zippy, heady reminder of the power we have inside ourselves to speak truth to power, to lash out at a system that has lured us into a false sense of comfort. ...Gough's true gift, however, is her ability to take a tale about power, privilege, and protest, and avoid anything that feels polemical or preachy. Instead, she's crafted a love story steeped in social justice that feels fresh, funny, fierce, and full of hope." (A rating)
    Entertainment Weekly

  • "Gough's novel pulses with hilarious, defiant heart. I rooted for unlikely allies Harriet and Will from the first pages and couldn't get enough of their chemistry. Maybe Amelia Westlake is imaginary, but her triumph over injustice is so gratifying and genuine."—Adrienne Kisner, author of Dear Rachel Maddow

  • "Empowering and insightful, Amelia Westlake Was Never Here is a rollicking reminder that even the smallest actions can change the world. This book is a feminist, romantic delight."—Ashley Herring Blake, author of Girl Made of Stars

  • "Filled with surprises and twists, Amelia Westlake Was Never Here is so smart and quick that I found myself speed reading to find out what happened next--and then going back to make sure I didn't miss a single line. Clever and effortless."—Katrina Leno, author of The Half Life of Molly Pierce

  • "Quirky, original, and completely charming characters, an adorable love story, plus a feminist plot to take down institutionalized misogyny at a stuffy prep school... Yes please. I loved everything about this book."—Sarah Watson, creator of The Bold Type and author of Most Likely

  • * "A refreshing, timely, and downright delightful story with a diverse, three-dimensional cast of characters whose hijinks are thrilling without being unrealistic."
    School Library Connection, starred review

  • * "This is quick-witted, fiercely intelligent storytelling at its finest--a testament to the power of women, LGBTQ strong, socially conscious, enormously fun, and utterly irresistible."—VOYA, starred review

  • * "Gough manages to strike the perfect balance between heartwarming queer romance and essential social criticism in this pertinent and empowering story."—Shelf Awareness, starred review

  • "Well-paced and satisfying.... Empowering."
    Kirkus Reviews

  • "Plenty of high-stakes drama. A vigilante justice story with a moral compass and a tender heart."—Booklist

  • "Creative, funny, and satisfying."—Horn Book

  • "[For] readers who like their feminist empowerment and gay-positive romances with a healthy dose of fun."—BCCB

  • "A hilarious social satire wrapped in a queer love story."—Cecilia Cackley, East City Bookshop (Washington, DC)

  • "Light and funny with fantastic character development and a delicious slow-burn queer romance."—Abby Rauscher, Books Are Magic (Brooklyn, NY)

  • "This is the greatest hoax I have ever had the pleasure of reading."—Nichole Cousins, White Birch Books (North Conway, NH)

  • "This hilarious romantic comedy takes you through hoaxes and loves and fears."—Abby Rice, The Briar Patch (Bangor, ME)

  • "Come for patriarchy-smashing pranks; stay for the sweet love story."—NPR Books

  • "[Audiobook narrators] Moll and Rosenberg nail the quirks and layers of their characters perfectly-from Will's disaffected sneer, which covers up her deep vulnerability, to Harriet's chipper observations, which are tinged with quiet desperation. The narrators excel at creating distinct voices for each girl while consistently mirroring the other in the dialogue between them. The consistency gives listeners insight into Will's changing perception of Harriet and vice versa."—AudioFile

On Sale
May 21, 2019
Page Count
368 pages

Erin Gough

About the Author

Erin Gough is a Sydney-based writer whose first young adult novel, The Flywheel, won Hardie Grant Egmont’s Ampersand Prize. The Flywheel was published in the United States as Get it Together, Delilah! and was shortlisted for the CBCA’s Book of the Year for Older Readers and the Centre for Youth Literature’s Gold Inky. It was also named a White Raven International Youth Library title.

Learn more about this author