At her book launch at the Collins Street Dymocks bookshop, Ellie Marney said she was grateful to everyone who told her to keep writing. Now those supporters are grateful she did keep writing, because the result is No limits, a newly released young adult novel.
Ellie is the author of the Every trilogy, a series of romantic crime books for young adults. The third book, Every move, had a draft which killed off Harris Derwent, a minor character. Ellie’s agent convinced her to keep Harris alive, as she thought he would make a fabulous protagonist in another book. Luckily, Ellie agreed, because Harris is now front and centre page of No limits!
I was fortunate enough to read an early digital copy of No limits, just before it was released, and I’m glad I did. I’m also glad I bought a print copy and asked Ellie to sign it. (I love a signed book by the author!)
No limits is told from the viewpoint of two characters, Harris Derwent, a nineteen-year-old who begins the story in hospital. He’s also broke, and forced to go back to live with his father who has physically and emotionally abused him all his life. Working at the hospital is Amita Blunt (Amie), the local police sergeant’s daughter, who cares for Harris. When Harris chooses to work as a runner for a local drug cartel, he also chooses to feed information back to the sergeant, through Amie. Although Harris and Amie start off as acquaintances, then friends, their relationship develops into a sizzling romance – just as hot as the danger they find themselves in.
Each chapter alternates between Amie and Harris’s voice – it’s one of those fabulous books where you like both narrators and don’t really mind who is telling the story.
No limits is set in Ouyen and Mildura. Ellie explained at her launch that the sensitive issues of domestic abuse and crystal methamphetamine are serious in north-central Victoria where she lives.
No limits was launched by the YA room, an initiate that promotes young adult fiction by holding monthly bookclub meetings.
I found it an absolute page-turner. For me, a page-turner book is one where I care about the characters so much that I can’t stop reading about them to find out what happens next for them. It’s a bit like having a coffee with a friend and saying, ‘Tell me everything!’
I loved Amie’s blend of practical and responsible – she looks after Harris, she looks after her widowed Dad, she looks after her elderly Indian Nani – and her daring and creativity. She’s a talented photographer and she doesn’t hesitate to put herself in danger to save Harris. As for Harris, there’s definitely some of the bad-boy vibe which makes him an interesting character from the beginning, but understanding his history with his dad, as well as seeing how he gradually tries to turn his life around, makes him a character to be admired as well.
When these two characters are set against a sordid world of drug-dealing, as well as a rural setting and Amie’s Indian family, it’s no wonder it’s hard to stop reading.
Ellie’s first book, Every breath, is the most borrowed YA book from libraries in 2015 – I can admit to contributing to that statistic! She’s also the founder of the LoveOZYA movement, to promote Australian young adult fiction. Her blog post, ‘Above the waterline’ was also widely read – she writes about fitting in writing around country driving, four kids and part-time work.
I find Ellie and her writing inspirational. I suggest you go and read her books!