Review: Snake Bite by Christie Thompson

Title: Snake Bite

Author: Christie Thompson

Published: Allen and Unwin October 2013

Status: Read from November 14 to 15, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

A coming of age story set in the suburbs of Australia’s capital during the 1990’s, Snake Bite is a story of adolescent rebellion and disovery.

It’s the summer before her final year of school and seventeen year old Jez spends most of her time with her best friend Lukey, contemplating new piercings, playing X-box and popping pills… until new girl Laura lures Luke away. While her single mother works nights and spends her days sleeping off a hangover, Jez seeks the company of her neighbour, Casey, who has no qualms about exposing Jez to the excesses of her lifestyle.

The themes of the novel are universal amongst adolescents, despite being couched in local colour. For Jez, all the angst, fear and boredom involved in growing up is complicated by poverty, family dysfunction and addiction. The summer challenges her ideas about love, sex and friendship when she confronts betrayal and exploitation. Thompson deftly evokes the intensity of emotion and drama teenagers struggle with as they learn about who they are, and who they want to be.

The story also explores the fragile relationship between Jez and her mother. Like most teens Jez considers her mother an embarrassment but the issues between them are compounded by Jez’s mothers alcoholism and lack of responsibility.

Change happens slowly, and often painfully, but eventually Jez discovers hope for a future that won’t necessarily include dealing drugs, stripping or repeating her mother’s mistakes.

Perhaps because I have a 17 year old daughter, the slang used doesn’t bother me the way in which it seems to irritate others. The few terms I was unfamiliar with could be understood by context, and neither do I have any problem with the casual use of explicit language, though some might find it confronting.

Snake Bite is a gritty, poignant and authentic novel, a raw slice of contemporary Australian life exposed for its uncomfortable truths. I enjoyed it and I’d recommend it particularly to YA readers, and adults who experienced adolescence in the 1990’s.

Available to Purchase from

Allen & Unwin I BoomerangBooks I Booktopia I Amazon AU

via Booko

Amazon US



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brona
    Nov 26, 2013 @ 21:12:50

    Sounds like quite a tough read, esp with a 17 year daughter yourself!



  2. Shannon (Giraffe Days)
    Nov 27, 2013 @ 12:19:39

    I’m looking forward to reading this one, it sounds so good! Glad to hear you liked it.



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