Review: What A Way To Go by Julia Forster

February 24, 2016 | RRP $27.99

whatawaytogo_coverIt’s 1988. 12-year-old Harper Richardson’s parents are divorced. Harper lives with her mother, an eccentric and complicated character, and spends weekends with her dad in a cottage in a Midlands backwater village. She is also a bit of an entrepreneur, creating her own pop up shop in the basement to raise money to get two gerbils as pets, has questionable dress sense, a Chambers dictionary, and the responsibility of fixing her parents’ broken hearts.

Harper is completely charming, sometimes mature beyond her years and at other times, cringingly teenage. She has a quirky sense of humour and unique perspective of life. This is a good thing since this book becomes more serious at the half way point. Family secrets are unearthed, tragedy is waiting in the wings and we hope for redemption as Harper and her family face some tough stuff.

Just like Doc does for Marty in Back to the Future, I’ll get Patrick to explain to me why on earth my parents ever thought it was a good idea to get it on.

I have to think over my tactics here.

I have to flux my capacitors.


As a teenager who survived the 80’s, I found this book a delightful and nostalgic jaunt back in time. It is unexpectedly touching and appeals to both adults and YA readers equally. It would also make a great book club discussion!

About Julia

Julia Forster was born and raised in the Midlands. She studied Philosophy and Literature at the University of Warwick and has a Masters in Creative Writing from St Andrews University. While at the University of Warwick, she was awarded the Derek Walcott prize for creative writing. She works in publishing, but has also been a magician’s assistant in Brooklyn, a nanny in Milan and a waitress in Chartres. Julia now lives in mid Wales with her husband and two young children.

© 2015 Melissa Sargent