Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey was the last book I read for the Aussie Author Challenge 2014 and it was a great read.
Set during the summer of 1965 in the small mining town of Corrigan in WA, Charlie is a 13 year old boy who loves to read and isn't too good at sport. His best friend Jeffrey Lu loves to play cricket and lives across the road.
Jasper Jones of the title is the town outcast with an alcoholic father and is the scapegoat for petty crime in the community. Jasper appears at Charlie's window one night asking for his help. Charlie follows Jasper to a secluded clearing in the bush, and what he sees there changes his life forever.
What Charlie sees in the clearing is revealed early (for which I was very grateful) and the mystery that follows is still enough to keep the plot moving at great speed.
The dialogue between Charlie and best friend Jeffrey made for hilarious reading and plenty of laugh out loud moments in between the seriousness of the story. Even though Jeffrey was a supporting character rather than the main focus of the plot, he was by far my favourite character and I greatly looked forward to his appearances in the story.
Jasper Jones is a coming-of-age story with a distinct Australian feel and I can definitely see why it has won several awards. Highly recommend and definitely an Australian author to watch.
My rating = ****