The Coconut Children by Vivian Pham
Published March 3rd 2020 by Vintage
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
Fall in love twice, just to make sure.
Sonny and Vince have always known each other. It took two years of juvie, a crazy mother and a porn stash for them to meet again.
Sonny is a sixteen-year-old girl who watches the world from her bedroom window and has a habit of falling hopelessly in love with just about anyone. Vince is a sixteen-year-old boy who became a legend after he was taken away two years ago. Now, Vince is back. In the vertigo of 1990’s Cabramatta, in households which harbour histories and parents who are difficult to love, they stumble upon each other once more.
I was so lucky in May to find a couple of new favourites, and it looks like The Coconut Children is going onto that list too.
I am in complete awe of this book, especially considering this is Vivian Pham’s debut and that she’s still pretty young. (I say that as if I’m old at 24). But there’s something incredibly attention-grabbing about this book. I know I’ve been saying this about a lot of books recently, but this was really another one of those that just really snuck up on me out of nowhere. It’s a bit of a strange little book, but it’s definitely a character-driven one. If you saw the last few reviews I’ve posted on Of Wonderland of things like The Last True Poets of the Sea, then you’d know that I’ve really been loving these kinds of unassuming books lately.
With character-driven books, the characters have to be really well-fleshed out and interesting for me, otherwise, I’ll end up despising the book even if it’s beautifully written. Luckily, the characters in here fell real. When things start off, Sonny and Vince seem to be a certain way, and then slowly things are stripped away and we get to see how complex they are. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a book do this so masterfully.
I’m really struggling to put my thoughts into a coherent review. This just really took me by surprise—I was expecting to enjoy this, but I wasn’t expecting to feel quite so taken in by it. I’m going to have very high hopes for whatever Vivian Pham writes next.
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