J. C. Burke
[This novel has been shortlisted for the 2012 Ned Kelly Award.]
From the publisher's page:
On Damon Styles's eighteenth birthday, he is expelled from school. But it's what happens afterwards that changes everything.
Now Damon must come up with a plan. It's the only way he can think straight. First, get his firearms licence. Then, see if the Pigman will give him a job - pig hunting will teach Damon what he needs to know. And he'd better get a lock for his wardrobe so his mother won't find what he's hiding.
Damon's taking matters into his own hands - but so is the town of Strathven.
A confronting, powerful story for young adults in the vein of J.C. Burke's CBCA award-winner The Story of Tom Brennan.
Holly Harper for "Readings": "I haven't been this impressed with a main character in quite some time. Damon isn't a nice, polite boy. He isn't the sort of kid you'd expect to find helping little old ladies with their shopping. But he's not just all rage either. He's a complicated character, and you can't help but feel for Damon. Despite the angry outbursts, despite the shell he wears, you can see why he'd feel the way he does...But it's not just Damon who shines in Pig Boy - all of the characters are fascinating, and work together to build a claustrophobic world that produces a young man like Damon, from his misguided mother to the school principal who's had enough, and especially the Miro the Pigman who takes the struggling Damon under his wing. JC Burke has created an absolutely unforgettable cast of characters in Pig Boy, and I have no doubt that this confronting book will appeal to everyone who has ever felt like the world is against them."
JudiJ on the "Slightly addicted to fiction" weblog: "There were moments reading Pig Boy that I could barely breathe, such was the tension. There were moments when I was put in mind of Robert Cormier, as the reading journey grew darker. There was never a moment when I wanted to put down this taut story about small town perceptions and prejudices...JC Burke is at her best writing challenging, thought-provoking novels for older readers. She won the CBCA Book of the Year in 2006 for The Story of Tom Brennan, which remains the best Australian YA novel about the consequences of careless teen driving."
Kasia Hubbard on the "GoodReads" website: "Starting this novel, for me, was very hard to do. Don't get me wrong, I like dark and twisted thinking, but this book started out even darker and more twisted than my personal taste allows. Even though it was a rough start, I will tell you that it's not what you would expect...I do recommend this book, but with a strong warning that it is not for younger teens. Amazing turn of events and even more amazing is the way the novel turns from dark and destitute to one of unexpected kindness."
The author talks about the book on YouTube: