I picked this one up from my library display because it has been long listed for the CBCA Awards. The heroine, Rory, hangs out with a gang, of which she seems to be the only female member. Before the story begins, the gang was responsible for a racist attack on an Indian restaurant and Rory took all responsibility for the attack, which got her a community service order, requiring her to work over the summer holidays at an aged care facility. There, she befriends a former boxer, Jack, who was a tent boxer in his time and has been a mentor to young boxers since, including some friends of the family who had been the victims of the attack.
The theme seems to be her journey towards being once more Aurora, named for a Burne-Jones goddess in the Queensland Art Gallery. And that works well and it's a good story, which will probably win some awards, but I've deducted a star for a number of things.
Firstly, Rory just seems too *nice*, too decent, for the crime she was involved in. She does have some issues in her past, her feeling of guilt over her father's death, but that doesn't lead, surely, to joining gangs? There is a childhood friend in the gang, true. But it's never made clear that this is why she joined - and he has more reasons for messing up his life than she does.
Secondly, there are one or two issues that are never resolved and one that I, as a reader, never saw as an issue, that was. I can't go into detail here because spoilers.
There is at least one character, Malik, who attacked her early in the book, who never seems to play any important role after that. I assumed something dramatic was going to happen, but all that did happen was that every time she turned up with his friend, Essam, a protege of Jack, was that he would yell, "What's SHE doing here?" His sister, a beautiful young woman, tells Rory off at one point, then appears again as a potential source of jealousy on Rory's part. But again - nothing. In fact, she was even less necessary than Malik, who did need to be there at least once more after his attack.
I think this book was good - I read it quickly - but could have done with a bit more editing.