Out of the Shadows
is narrated in alternate chapters by Ro and Jodie, two Australian teenagers. Jodie is new to the small town where Ro lives with her mother's partner Deb, and the two become good friends, sensing a kinship to each other and difference from the other kids at school. Mark, one of the best-looking boys in high school is also firm friends with them, though, despite the school gossip, not going out with either of them. Ro lives with Deb because her mother died recently and her parents are divorced; it is this unusual home set-up that makes her not want to mix too closely with her peers, yet for Jodie it offers a sense of freedom and a shape of what she might want from life. All three teenagers have their own family and personal problems that they work through in the course of the book--for Ro it is only a visit to Sydney that releases her feelings about her mother's and Deb's relationship enough for her to confide in Jodie. And for Mark and Jodie, Sydney offers an opportunity to understand their own sexuality.
Sue Hines has written an ambitious novel for adolescents about feeling comfortable with one's sexual orientation, and successfully gives positive ideas and models for teenagers, whether unhappy gays and lesbians, or heterosexuals who want to understand their friends. The setting and tone is unmistakably Australian, but the themes are universal enough to appeal to any young adults. --Olivia Dickinson
A mature and refreshingly original approach to the issue of sexuality -- Australian Bookseller and Publisher