Our Marketing Manager Cass has been exploring titles from the YA shelf these past few weeks. At the moment she’s diving into The Build-Up Season, the second novel by CBCA-shortlisted author Megan Jacobson, following her powerful debut Yellow.
The Build Up Season is one of my favourite reads so far this year. The story follows seventeen-year-old Iliad Piper, ‘named after war and angry at the world’.
Ily is living with her mum and grandmother in Darwin, having spent most of her childhood with an emotionally and physically violent father, and the bulk of her adolescence shipped off to boarding school.
Ily’s experiences have now manifested themselves in different ways – fraught friendships, a difficult relationship with her mother, struggles with communication, and volatile affairs. But Ily is a survivor, a creative force and a courageous protagonist. Like everyone, she is walking an unknown path to discover her limitations, her strengths, her courage, and her self-worth.
The complexity and resonance of domestic violence is explored with intelligence and without romance; Megan Jacobson has weaved in terrifically valuable considerations to the various characters in Ily’s life.
The book is an excellent exploration into how power and control play into all types of relationships and family dynamics. The Build-Up Season could be used as a framing device to safely talk about violence, sex, anger, fear, power, and respectful relationships. I'll definitely be purchasing a copy for my teenage sisters.
Content warning: The novel contains many references to domestic violence, and some references to sex. Parental discretion is advised for readers under 15.