Sue Hines' debut novel, Out of the Shadows, has several things going for and against it, and I included the novel in my series because of it's unique characters.
Ro, a wannabe-typical Australian teenager, has a lot to overcome: her mother was gay, her mother was killed by a drunk driver, and her guardian is her mother's partner - a woman she has hated in the past. The plot gets even more convoluted: Ro's best friend, Mark, goes gaga over a new student named Jodie, who has secretly fallen for Ro.
It was sometimes hard to keep track of the different characters - even with alternating POVs - because Hines herself has a very strong point of view that shone throw most characters' narratives. At times, I felt like too much was being thrown into this story, but I was always entertained and the book reads very quickly. By the end, reconciliations abound for Ro - some are too contrived and others short and sweet.
I would recommend Out of the Shadows to reluctant readers as well as writers who are interested in experimenting with their work. Overall, Out of the Shadows is a winner and still feels current despite being fifteen years old.