Sunshine On Vinegar Street
Out Now

Sunshine On Vinegar Street

CBCA Notable for Younger Readers 2024

Twelve-year old Freya’s world is turned upside down when she and her mum relocate to inner-city Melbourne. STUCK in a new apartment on the eleventh floor and Freya is afraid of lifts. STUCK in a new basketball team where not everyone likes a star new player. STUCK in a classroom of kids who don’t know Freya is a donor-conceived baby. STUCK, just like Little Audrey in the Skipping Girl sign – suspended in mid-air over the suburb of Abbotsford.

Being the new girl makes Freya feel like a dark cloud on a summer’s day. Can she figure out how to belong on Vinegar Street?

Teacher's Notes


“Tender and funny – a tumbling collage of words and wonderings, fears and triumphs, where the child’s world is both the hard, real thing and the stuff of magic.”

Ursula Dubosarsky
Australian Children's Laureate 2020-2021

‘This universal story is perfect for any young reader who’s ever felt left on the outside, and will appeal to fans of Nova Weetman’

Books and Publishing


  • Karen Comer, whose debut was YA verse novel Grace Notes (Lothian), hits just the right notes in Sunshine on Vinegar Street, guiding the reader through frustration, hope, determination and resilience, slowly building to acceptance and belonging. Freya is never too perfect to be real and is a fantastic example for older middle-grade readers of how to take those angry, bitter thoughts and feelings you might have when something goes wrong and be more productive with them. Written in verse, Sunshine on Vinegar Street is a great example that novels don’t always need to follow a strict format to succeed. This universal story is perfect for any young reader who’s ever felt left on the outside, and will appeal to fans of Nova Weetman. -Anneliese Gates, Books and Publishing
  • Author Karen Comer has a written an astonishing verse novel with so much packed into a clever use of word shapes, text changes and highlighted words, as well as plenty of basketball and netball references. For older primary school students this would make a wonderful class novel. -Kathryn Beilby, ReadPlus
  • Sunshine on Vinegar Street is an engaging and swift read that is all about adapting to the new and finding the courage to put yourself out there and do the right things. -Sarah Custance,  Story Links
  • This beautiful verse novel is a wonderful addition to the Australian verse novels, and I hope it earns a place in the NCACL collection. I loved reading Freya’s story, because it captured so much heart and joy, as well as the big feelings that we all have from time to time. -Ashleigh Meikle, The Book Muse
  • Sunshine on Vinegar Street is a perfect book for eager and reluctant readers alike. The use of verse makes the page visually appealing for those who may struggle to approach larger slabs of text. Comer perfectly captures the unease of early adolescence, as big changes are happening in every corner of Freya’s life. -Kealy Siryj, Readings
  • Sunshine on Vinegar Street is a stunning novel-in-verse that pulls you along with racing heart and goosebump skin, deftly crafted and utterly humane. -Paula Green, Poetry Box
  • Sunshine on Vinegar Street by Karen Comer and published by Allen and Unwin is a gripping and stirring verse novel set in Melbourne and imbued with symbolism that will have young readers 8+ cheering for the protagonist, Freya. –Reading Opens Doors

Teacher's Notes

About Karen

Karen Comer is a writer and freelance editor, and she presents writing workshops to children and adults. Earlier in her career, she worked in educational publishing and was the editor for children’s art magazine BIG. She lives in Melbourne.

About Karen