Miss 14 has joined me today as a specialist in young adult fiction to write a book review for Asphyxia’s Future Girl. Released this month, Future Girl is a gorgeously designed novel presented as an art journal. Written and illustrated by Asphyxia, an Australian Deaf writer, artist and activist, this is the story of 16-year-old Piper, a Melbourne teenager living in the not-too-far-away future where most of the population no longer eat ‘wild’ food but recon (laboratory engineered food).
From Miss 14 –
I was hooked from the beginning. The pages are beautifully illustrated and help to build Piper’s character. It’s almost like you are in her head and can feel her emotions.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Future Girl because it was informative and interesting. Piper is an inspiring character. When she meets Marley and learns Auslan she becomes a part of the Deaf community. She learns that being Deaf shouldn’t be something to be kept secret. Her mum hired someone to teach her to lipread so that she could be normal and fit in with other kids, but being Deaf is not ‘normal’ and the Deaf community should not be treated as a burden or embarrassment. Piper’s mum believes that signing in public is embarrassing and that Piper should stick to lip reading and pretending that she is not Deaf. When Piper starts her garden she inspires others to speak up and take matters into their own hands. Asphyxia has managed to create a captivating story that will keep you invested while also educating you about the Deaf community. Future Girl is an inspiring, coming-of-age and finding your voice book that is a must read for all ages.
My thoughts –
The different threads about the environment, growing food, growing up Deaf, art as both activism and self-expression, teenage first love, friendship, mother-daughter relationships – were seamlessly woven together.
I loved how slowing down to admire the beautiful pages of paint, sketches and collage made me appreciate the story and let it settle more.
I can see young adult readers of 13 years and on becoming interested in learning Auslan, growing their own food, making compost and making art. There are also teachers’ notes here.
I have signed up to Asphyxia’s online art class for making an art journal! I have dabbled with an art journal before, and even though I have a quilt to finish sewing which is lovely and meditative, the thought of loose and spontaneous paint and collage has set my heart racing.
Future Girl belongs in every school library and would make a wonderful Christmas present for teenage girls.
Photos – and lilac nails – provided by Miss 14.