I’m at the police station. There’s blood splattered across my face and clothes. In this tiny room with walls the colour of winter sky I hug a black backpack full of treasures. Only one thing is certain . . . no one can ever forgive me for what I’ve done.
An unspeakable event changes everything for twelve-year-old Sophie. No more Mum, school or bed of her own. She’s made a ward of the state and grows up in a volatile world where kids make their own rules, adults don’t count and the only constant is change.
Until one day she meets Gwen, Matty and Spiral. Spiral is the most furious, beautiful boy Sophie has ever known. And as their bond tightens she finally begins to confront what happened in her past.
While this is a work of fiction it was inspired by real life and a culture I knew too well.
I was one of the lucky ones because I got out, I went back to school and struggled my way out of the margins of society. I became a journalist and tried to research and prove all I knew was broken with the system.
While stories about Victoria’s group home system leak out now and again I found when it came to the truth about state kids the government was, and still is, in lockdown.
There isn’t much the outside world can uncover about the voiceless and unwanted children. And when it comes to teenagers, few really care.
So many people I know were judged, unloved and ended up in prison or worse. They were survivors of uncaring or abusive parents and they lived in a system designed to neglect them.