Set in a small beach town in 1992, Cargo tells three separate but intertwining stories of Gillian, who is vulnerable after losing her leg in an accident; Jacob, who lives in the shadow of his big brother; and Frankie, whose life is not as perfect as it seems. They're all at that awkward teen stage when every experience is fresh and every emotion is extreme. Each one is feeling love (or something like it) for the first time, as well as dealing with changing relationships with their families and confronting their hopes, dreams and expectations for the future.
I picked Cargo up after seeing the glowing review that Nic from Irresistible Reads gave it, and I was not disappointed. Au's prose is lovely, effectively evoking strong emotions and sensations, so that I could almost smell the sea air and feel the salt, sun and sand on my skin. Each sentence is a pleasure to read, the words carrying you along smoothly and dreamily; it's the perfect beach read, not because it's light and frothy but because it's truly relaxing. And, of course, it's set at the beach!
I really enjoyed the three stories, too; and especially appreciated the fact that although they were interconnected, they were still unique. Au weaves them together artfully, highlighting the way people touch each other's lives without even realising they have, as well as the fact that everyone has a story. You pass the same people every day, or recognise them from a distance, without ever knowing what they're going through. On top of this, it was interesting to be in the head of a character for one chapter and become aware of the way they see themselves, and then see them through the eyes of another character in the next chapter. The differing perspectives were never jarring for me; I enjoyed hopping from one head to the next. Overall, it was a simple but elegant read.
|Jordan Rodrigues as Jacob|
|Adam Saunders as Alex|
|Charlotte Best as Gillian|
|Emily Browning as Frankie|
|Ryan Kwanten as James|
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Published: August 2011
Get It: Booktopia