Fly: By Ann Witherall, 254pgs. By Steve Hart

Fly is a semi-autobiographical story of a young punk rock girl from a small town who moves to the big city and carves out a life of her own. Believing in the power of punk rock, Annie and a friend begin squatting and search for members of their tribe. Each chapter brings a sense of dread, the threat of sexual assault, violence, and drug overdoses. Dispossession looms over Annie. I found myself shaking my head, remembering how young and naïve I was at fifteen, and how dangerous situations really were back then. I don’t normally enjoy fictional books that reference band names––I find it too distracting. However, in Fly, some of the coolest Australian punk bands make an appearance. Vicious Circle, one of the bands featured on the P.E.A.C.E. compilation record, was popular with my group of friends and reading their name brought me back to that period of time. Depression, End Result, Gash, I Spit On Your Gravy, and X are also referenced. Incredibly real and full of vivid characters and personalities, Fly is the best book I’ve read this year. –Steve Hart (annwitherall.com)