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Sunday, January 2, 2011

'Beatle meets Destiny' by Gabrielle WILLIAMS

From the BLURB:

Imagine your name is John Lennon, only everyone calls you Beatle.

And then you meet your Dream girl and her name is Destiny McCartney.

But what if you're already with the perfect girl?

A novel about change, chance and everybody doing the wrong thing.

Like the title suggests, Beatle meets Destiny. One night (Friday 13th, to be exact) at a tram stop in Melbourne, John Lennon (don’t start, his mum was a fan!) aka ‘Beatle’ sees a beautiful girl sitting and reading a book, with sunglasses on. Well, he has to comment.

Destiny Mcartney (don’t start, her parents were hippies!) has just had the worst night of her life when a cute guy called ‘Beatle’ delivers a smart-arse comment that gets the ball rolling. And how cosmic that they met on Friday the 13th. Or that he is Lennon to her Mcartney? Or that Destiny’s older brother is Beatle’s English teacher? Or that they both love Trampoline ice-cream?

What follows is a series of cosmic couplings and meetings between Beatle and Destiny. . . and while their stars keep crossing, both their lives spiral catastrophically out of their control.

Because Beatle actually already has a very nice girlfriend, called Cilla.
And Destiny’s brother, Frank, has a potentially disastrous cosmic connection to Beatle all his own. . .

And really, Beatle has had his fill of cosmic connections with his twin sister, Winsome (born 45 days apart, but still twins... it's a long story).

This is a story about meeting 'the one' again, and again and again. And what happens when coincidence crosses over into real life and we have to deal with the cosmic fall-out.

Melbourne Botanical Gardens

Gabrielle Williams’ debut young adult novel is the Australian answer to ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’. Or any Kimya Dawson song. Or ‘Dazed and Confused’. Think of any book, movie or soundtrack that you read/watched/listened to and thought it touched your young soul and spoke volumes of you and your times. Well, that’s ‘Beatle meets Destiny’, in a nutshell. . . and it is glorious.

The story itself is both complex and innocent. This is not a story about sex, drugs and abnormal adolescent behaviour. This is a story of boy meets girl and all the shenanigans that ensue.

Beatle and Destiny swap narration throughout the book as we delve into the uplift and fall-out of their first meeting. The dates that come, the ‘call-the-next-day’s’ that don’t. We read their slow progression of infatuation and romance. . . and we also read the various catastrophes that surround their coupling.

The Esplanade 'Espy' Hotel in St. Kilda

And this couple is cute. Really, it’s almost too cutesy for words. Beatle is an enviably sensitive young man, despite his various mistakes. And Destiny is an effortlessly cool girl you kinda wish was real so you could hang out with and be friends. Their romance is sweet, not only for the cosmic-connection, but simply because these two ‘fit’ and it’s adorable to read the many ways in which they complement one another;
He couldn’t get Destiny’s lips out of his head. And wished he didn’t have to get them off his face. And her eyes, dark and sleepy-looking. And her hair, black and long and slightly wavy. And even her nose – kind of large but striking; it suited her perfectly, anchoring her eyes and serving to draw her whole face together. He kept seeing Destiny, even though she wasn’t there.
While reading I kept thinking that ‘Beatle meets Destiny’ has a cinematic quality to it, and should be adapted to film. Not a big ‘Transformers’ flashy film, an independent gem like ‘Juno’ kinda film. The story feels like it could be a John Hughes movie, and the teenagers are brilliant for their relatability and simplicity.

The book also has a Rob Reiner-esque feel to it, particularly for the mini-stories that cut into Destiny and Beatle’s respective narratives. Much like in the movie ‘When Harry met Sally’, in which married couples recount their first meeting, Williams has included cut-aways to various interviews with twins as they recount moments of cosmic-twin-connection.

‘Beatle meets Destiny’ is really an ode to Melbourne. Even if it wasn’t printed on the ‘about the author’ page, you’d know that Williams is a loud and proud Melbournian. She loves this city (my city) and she has an in-depth knowledge of its streets and tram routes that is simply astounding. I don’t know how people outside of Australia (heck, outside of Victoria?!) will feel about the Melbournian intricacies throughout the book. . . but for a girl who was born and bred in Melbourne (much like Williams herself) I had many moments while reading ‘Beatle meets Destiny’ when I thought “geez, I’d really like to go and visit Melbourne, it sounds awesome”. . . and then be struck by the orgasmic realization that this is my city! I do live here! This place is awesome and Williams has highlighted that awesomeness in finite detail. YAY!

Most common mode of transport in Melbourne - tram

Gabrielle William’s writing is never more luscious than when she describes (our) beloved Melbourne. Williams distils the city, breaks it down through the eyes of the youth who grow up here – while also adding a layer of reflection that will have any Melbournians reading crying out, ‘Aha!’, for her precision in detailing our fair city and articulating what was always on the tip of our tongue;
They say the Yarra River runs with its bottom close to the surface, all silt and scunge and mud running along the top. If you’re a skateboarder in Melbourne – if you’re really serious about it – you’ll find yourself fairly regularly down at the skate bowl beside the Yarra, hunkered down under the Swanston Street Bridge within stone-throwing distance of the glass towers that make up the city skyline. A free-balling yin to the stiff, up-tight, corporate yang of stockbrokers and accountants and lawyers and whatever the hell else all those businessmen do tucked up inside their fuck-off skyscrapers. With nothing but a big, upside-down river keeping the two worlds separate.
Gabrielle Williams is the young adult genre’s answer to John Hughes. ‘Beatle meets Destiny’ is a spectacular YA read and I am proud to call myself a Melbournian after consuming this book (not that I wasn’t before. . . I’m just more so now). An outstanding YA Aussie read!

5/5

2 comments:

  1. Great review! it sounds like an awesome book! Im adding it to my ever growing wishlist LOL

    Hope you had a great new Years hon! =D

    xoxo

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  2. This is such a funky book and I loved reading all the stuff about melbourne in your review.

    I've only been there once so I wasn't familiar with all the stuff in the book ~ but howbrilliantly does she use the back-drop of melbourne for the book?

    Weirdly, i read that they are shooting the film in Ireland? Bizarre, hey? Can't wait for the movie to come out ~ whenever that will be. I got a copy of this for Christmas! I needed it on my shelf :)

    x

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