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A powerful story of love and loss, secrets and revelations - and making sense of a past that once seemed perfect.

For Tom Brennan, life is about rugby, mates and family - until a night of celebration changes his life forever. Tom's world explodes as his brother Daniel is sent to jail and the Brennans are forced to leave the small town Tom's lived in his whole life. Tom is a survivor, but he needs a ticket out of the past just as much as Daniel. He will find it in many forms . . .


A Teaching Support Kit is available at www.randomhouse.com.au/teachers

Reviews

Winner, Book of the Year - Older Readers 2006

Children's Book Council of Australia

Winner, Children's Literature (Novel) 2006

of the Australian Family Therapists' Award

A must read for all teens.

David Koch, Channel 7 Sunrise

From my small town childhood and youth I can vouch for the verisimilitude of the events that course through The Story of Tom Brennan … JC Burke is right on the money. It is a memorable book. Through the eyes of Tom Brennan she has convincingly related an all too common experience but she also manages to draw light out of the darkness. At a time when communities and government are searching for ways of reducing road trauma among youth following recent horrific road carnage, this is indeed a timely novel.

Kevin Steinberger, Viewpoint

A tragic tale told with sensitivity and skill. Burke's latest novel is beautifully moody, with intense sorrow soothed by instances of love and humour. The story is immediately alluring . . . Burke has delicately crafted the story to give only a little at a time, building up the intensity and creating a palpable sense of the Brennan family's grief, shame and confusion.

Angie Schiavone, Sydney Morning Herald

Burke gently probes the pain suffered by Tom and his family and uncovers, realistically, some of what goes on behind the headlines.

Australian Bookseller + Publisher

This book by J.C. Burke was a great book. I could hardly put it down. I especially like the flow of the book, especially how it starts off slow and works its way up to a fast pace.

Robere Rahme, age 13, Random House Book Buddies

I particularly liked the way the story about the accident was revealed bit by bit, rather than all at once. It ... helped to build suspense and to make me want to keep reading … This was not an easy book to read because the subject matter is fairly confronting ... However, it is probably a very worthwhile book for teenagers to read, since it delivers an important message about the dangers of drink driving.

Christian Sexty, age 14, Random House Book Buddies

The author's way with words is terrific, and I felt [she] portrayed the character of Tom excellently ... It was very realistic, with Tom's mum not being able to get out of bed, and the author didn't try to make anyone a hero, [she] just tried to portray the different people's emotions accurately. I enjoyed it immensely.

Alexis Killoran, age 15

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781741660920

    October 3, 2005

    Random House Australia Children's

    288 pages

    RRP $17.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781864715262

    May 1, 2010

    RHA eBooks Child

    288 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Awards and Recognition

  • Australian Family Therapists' Award for Children's Literature
    2006
    Winner
    Novel
  • Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year
    2006
    Winner
    Older Readers
  • National Children's Peace Literature Award
    2007
    Shortlisted
    National Children’s Peace Literature Award

Also by J.C. Burke

Pretty Girl
Pig Boy
Ocean Pearl
Starfish Sisters
Faking Sweet
Nine Letters Long
The Red Cardigan

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The Royal Academy of Sport for Girls 1: High Flyers
Our Australian Girl: The Rose Stories
Clementine Rose and the Surprise Visitor 1
Thirteen Reasons Why
LGB I Love You, Grandma!
The Serpent King
Orbiting Jupiter
The Whole of My World
Animal Rescue Team
Before You Forget
Anna and the Swallow Man
Finding Audrey
The Pause