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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wavelength by A.J. Betts

Title: Wavelength
Author: AJ Betts

Release Date: 2nd August 2010

My Rating: 4/5

Oliver’s world has shrunk. It’s all about Year 12 finals. It’s about that magic 80% average he needs to get into uni, get his dream job and get cashed up. If only he can find a quiet place to study – away from the chaos and mess of living with two small kids and his Mum’s booming muffin business.
A study break in a small coastal town seems just the ticket. But Sunny Haven Recreation and Leisure Centre is like some weird parallel universe. He arrives cashless, bookless, phoneless and fuming in the back of his Dad’s clapped out Cortina only to find his new study space is home to an array of elderly citizens.
They’ve each got their own opinions on Oliver’s life plans and he “doesn’t wanna hear it!” But gradually, with their help, Oliver’s universe expands.
My Review:
I was really interested in reading this book because it is set in Perth (where I live) and Busselton (where I have holidayed). In other words, I am familiar with the scenery which is rare as not alot of books are set in Perth so a big shout out to local author AJ Betts! I briefly met Betts once when she came into the book store I was working in. This was before Wavelength had been released which is a pity because now that I have read it, I would have loved to have had the opportunity to tell her how much I enjoyed it!

The topic of Wavelength is something we can all identify with, our final exams, our TEE. For those of you not familiar with the Australian school system, the mark we get on this determines if we can get into the university course we want. Oliver's frustration is all too easy to identify with and I can remember back to when myself and my friends took our TEE exams and the stress we felt we were under to get great scores. If I remember correctly from our little chat, Betts is a high school teacher so she would be very familiar with Oliver's position, having witnessed it many times over. I also think that showing Oliver's home life reaches out to other teens because he is constantly having to take on other responsibilities due to his mum's job. This helps show that teenager's can have other things in life to worry about besides school. Being a teenager can sometimes be a very lonely time, and, one of the fantastic things about alot of young adult fiction, is that it helps teens understand they are not alone.

For those of you who have read the book, I personally can relate most to the character of Emma. While our circumstances were different, we both ended up going down the same path. I really admire the overall message in the book (well it's what came through the strongest to me anyway) and that's DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE. SOMETHING YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR. I could go on and on about this but it will probably get a little too personal and bore you all to tears so I shall stay on track shall I?

The character development was great and the teasing and banter between Oliver and Emma was really well done. I thought it was important to have Emma's character and her gradual feelings towards the exams revealed because, while Oliver does represent a large portion of year 12 students, not everyone views the exams as the be-all, end-all (because they're not) and I think this is a very important point to keep in mind. That said, this is not an anti-TEE review/book, more a reminder to do what makes you happy.

As a side note, I loved the scene where Oliver is learning how to make coffee for the first time. Very well written!

Sometimes I felt the language was a little off, that some of the words used would not be used by a 17-year-old boy, but ultimately this was a very enjoyable story that I would recommend and that I hope goes into high school libraries.


  1. Ahh! I just graduated and I have my VCE end of year exams beginning Thursday (Victoria :)) But I'm not fussed because I've been doing exams mid and end since Year 7 anyway lol

  2. this sounds really good - i haven't heard of it so thanks for featuring it. I'm adding it to my to-read list - I've only read two books set in Perth (I think) such a cool feeling reading a book in a place you've lived in or are familiar with!

    Hope you're having a good time in the US - such a shame about missing a book signing like that!

  3. Hi Jess,
    thanks for this great review, and also for remembering me! You really 'got' the book and its ideas. And I'm glad you liked the familiar locations too.
    I hope you're enjoying your travels. Keep up the good work!
    Amanda (AJ)


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