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The Pause

The Pause 3

by John Larkin
Publication Date: 01/04/2015
4/5 Rating 3 Reviews
RRP  $19.99 $19.25

A hard-hitting story about mental health and living with depression and anxiety.

Shortlisted in the 2016 Children's Book Council Awards

I watch the train emerge from the tunnel. It will be quick. It will be efficient. It will be final.

Declan seems to have it all: a family that loves him, friends he's known for years, a beautiful girlfriend he would go to the ends of the earth for. But there s something in Declan's past that just won t go away, that pokes and scratches at his thoughts when he s at his most vulnerable. Declan feels as if nothing will take away that pain that he has buried deep inside for so long. So he makes the only decision he thinks he has left: the decision to end it all. Or does he?

As the train approaches and Declan teeters at the edge of the platform, two versions of his life are revealed. In one, Declan watches as his body is destroyed and the lives of those who loved him unravel. In the other, Declan pauses before he jumps. And this makes all the difference. One moment. One pause. One whole new life.

From author of The Shadow Girl, winner of the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2012 Prize for Writing for Young Adults, comes a breathtaking new novel that will make you reconsider the road you re traveling and the tracks you're leaving behind.

Personal & social issues: racism & multiculturalism (Children's / Teenage)
Publication Date:
Random House Australia
Country of origin:
Dimensions (mm):

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

4 / 5 (3 Ratings)
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  • A worthy read for all

    by on

    The premise behind this book is that while life might be horrid now, tomorrow things may totally change and it’s worth sticking around for. It’s a story about suicide and is based on the author’s own depression experience. An insightful and thought provoking story about Declan as he navigates his past and the blows of life.

  • Compellingly beautiful

    by on

    Declan is a teenage boy suffering after a forced split with the girlfriend he adores. He is unable to deal with the depression and anxiety resulting from the situation and one morning he is presented with the opportunity to end all the pain. But does he take it?

    Larkin shows us both eventualities, and we see Declan come to terms with each decision – even in ‘non-space’. Suicide is a sensitive and emotive topic, yet Larkin manages to create story that is uplifting and sweet. Despite being a good tale, the book also presents the message that suicide is final and impacts many people in many ways. Much of the story is Declan reiterating that suicide is not the answer and although this can seem a bit ‘preachy’ at times, it does give the story a positive feel. Through the events that take place, we share Declan’s tough times and alongside our protagonist realise that life does get better and each experience makes you stronger. Another positive is Declan’s delightful relationship with his mother. It is a real feel-good rapport that they have, which again reinforces that there is always someone there who understands you when you need support.

    I enjoyed this book very much, and was compelled to read it very quickly to see which path Declan did take. Larkin does a great job of beginning a conversation about a difficult topic. He gives the act no glamour – as evident in a very graphic scene at the train station – and builds empathy for the various characters in the story who are dealing with a mental health disorder. I will definitely read this book again.

  • One pause

    by on

    One moment. One pause. One decision to read a great book.

    Two versions of your life are revealed. In one, you never read this book. You don't experience the joy of reading a book set in Sydney, Australia, of actually seeing a diverse cast of characters (Italian/Irish protagonist, Chinese and Korean best friends, girlfriend from Hong Kong), of an honestly written book about how one choice changes everything.

    In the other, you pause and grab the book. This extremely underrated gem of a book, as most Australian YA novels are. A book with a very jumpy timeline that nevertheless suits the very candid tone of the narration. A book where it almost sounds like a friend who's telling you a story and has to keep going back to tell you background he's forgotten.

    So, yeah, it gets a little preachy at times, with constant references to the "choice" the protagonist has made. But I think that's okay. It's okay to emphasise that life is precious. It's okay for the author to want to empower others who suffer from depression. It's okay to show that it's okay to reach for help.

    And it's okay for you to pause.