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  • Published: 1 April 2015
  • ISBN: 9780857981707
  • Imprint: Random House Australia Children's
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $19.99

The Pause

Everyone’s going to be talking about The Pause, the new novel from award-winning author John Larkin.

One moment. One pause. One whole new life.

Declan seems to have it all: a family that loves him, friends he’s known for years, a beautiful girlfriend he would go to the ends of the earth for.

But there’s something in Declan’s past that just won’t go away, that pokes and scratches at his thoughts when he’s at his most vulnerable. Declan feels as if nothing will take away that pain that he has buried deep inside for so long. So he makes the only decision he thinks he has left: the decision to end it all.

Or does he? As the train approaches and Declan teeters at the edge of the platform, two versions of his life are revealed. In one, Declan watches as his body is destroyed and the lives of those who loved him unravel. In the other, Declan pauses before he jumps. And this makes all the difference.

From author of The Shadow Girl, winner of the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2012 Prize for Writing for Young Adults, comes a breathtaking new novel that will make you reconsider the road you’re travelling and the tracks you’re leaving behind.

WINNER, Queensland Literary Awards Griffith University Young Adult Book Award 2015
SHORTLISTED, Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year – Older Readers 2016

  • Published: 1 April 2015
  • ISBN: 9780857981707
  • Imprint: Random House Australia Children's
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

John Larkin

Sydney-based author John Larkin was born in England but grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney. He has, at various stages of his writing career, supported his habit by working as a supermarket trolley boy, shelf-stacker, factory hand, forklift driver, professional soccer player and computer programmer. He now writes and teaches writing full-time. John has a BA in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from Macquarie University. John’s The Shadow Girl won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards Prize for Writing for Young Adults 2012, and The Pause won the Queensland Literary Awards Griffith University Young Adult Book Award 2015.

Also by John Larkin

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Praise for The Pause

John Larkin deserves to win awards and much applause for this young adult book that deals with the tough topic of suicide. It made me cry, but it also made me laugh and think . . . Recommended for older teenagers and their parents.

Rebecca Green, Herald Sun

John Larkin has written an important book for young adults: about choices; about love; about secrets; and about looking after yourself – telling someone when you are feeling bad, sad or alone. I really think this book could save a life, if put into the hands of someone who thinks they have no other options. It is a life-affirming story, dark and sorrowful, but full of hope and light too. For ages 13 and up – I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Sue Osborne, worthreadingworthsharing.wordpress.com

Dressed in a gripping story and an intriguing structure, this is above all a crucial message from someone who knows first hand what it is like to feel that death is the only answer to unbearable mental anguish – a heady celebration of life from one who knows how such feelings can be turned around with a little help.

Katharine England, Magpies

Between All the Bright Places, Thirteen Reasons Why and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, we’ve read some exceptional books dealing with teen suicide. John Larkin amazed us with this striking take on this painful topic. In The Pause, Sydney teen Declan O’Malley speaks directly to us in a tone that veers between sharply funny and heartbroken, explaining the events that have caused him to plan his own death. Larkin narrates two scenarios: 1. The aftermath of Declan’s suicide and 2. Declan’s future if he doesn’t go through with his plan. The result is a powerful, life-affirming story that’s sure to spark healthy conversation.

Editor's Note, iBooks

The first chapter got me in and introduced me to a book that I couldn't put down. This is a book about suicide, however, it is not a suicide book. It is marvellously written with an insight that can only be real . . . I highly recommend this to all students over 15. It is sure to become highly awarded and be classroom group reading for many years.

Rob, lamontbooks.com.au

The Pause is so full of hope that when I turned the last page my first impulse was to run through the streets hugging strangers, shouting for joy and celebrating the miracle of being alive. I picked up this book expecting an emo tear-jerker and instead discovered one of the most inspirational and uplifting books I have read in a very long time. The Pause is the kind of book that could easily change lives and possibly even save them. A must read for everyone, but especially for young people whose lives have been touched by depression.

Sarah McDuling, booktopia.com.au

In the tradition of It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, or more recently Sliding Doors, The Pause merely asks you to do just that, stop and consider this world without you . . . Through the humour and warmth developed for the characters over the story’s 20 year span, Larkin makes this otherwise difficult topic consumable for the YA reader and with the added reading group questions at the back of the book, promotes a well overdue dialogue that will hopefully be explored in schools.

Jacquelyn Muller, buzzwordsmagazine.com

This book gripped me from the very beginning . . . Regardless of whether or not you've had experience with mental illness, I highly recommend this book. The Pause is a heart wrenching novel which will make you cry, but also heartwarming enough to make you laugh in all the right moments.


Through Declan’s, at times, very real and heartbreaking story we meet his family, his loving girlfriend and ‘interesting’ friends. All of this mixed together gives us the perfect trail mix of love, reality, excitement and adventure without letting one overpower the other three. If the first few pages dishearten you, stick around because with the lows come the highs with this story and the ending is one that’s definitely worth the journey.

Jemma Sbeghen, readings.com.au

Awards & recognition

CBCA Book of the Year Awards

Shortlisted  •  2016  •  Older Readers

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Teachers' notes

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