The Protected

The Protected 2

by Claire Zorn

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 23/07/2014

4/5 Rating 2 Reviews
RRP  $19.95 $16.35

Hannah's world is in pieces and she doesn't need the school counsellor to tell her she has deep-seated psychological issues.

With a seriously depressed mum, an injured dad and a dead sister, who wouldn't have problems? Hannah should feel terrible but for the first time in ages, she feels a glimmer of hope and isn't afraid anymore. Is it because the elusive Josh is taking an interest in her? Or does it run deeper than that?

In a family torn apart by grief and guilt, one girl's struggle to come to terms with years of torment shows just how long old wounds can take to heal.

General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
University of Queensland Press
Country of origin:
Dimensions (mm):
Claire Zorn

Claire Zorn lives on the south coast of New South Wales with her husband and two small children. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Post Graduate Diploma in writing.

She is a music lover, retro furniture collector and amateur swim-club enthusiast.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

4 / 5 (2 Ratings)
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  • You'll Need Tissues

    by on

    Do you have tissues? Invest. GET yourself some tissues.

    It's a story about grief and bullying. Totally the most crushing combination ever. It reminded me a lot of The Year of the Rat (sans bullying) for style and brittle family anguish. This book is about Hannah who is horribly bullied and her sister is dead from a car accident.

    The story itself works backwards. You begin knowing her sister, Katie, is dead. That hurts. You see the pain, the tears, the family falling apart. BUT WHY?! WHAT HAPPENED? Answers beg to be found. I basically just read the whole thing in two sittings and I just absolutely ached for Hannah.

    Hannah is a really soft person. Quiet and nice. And people are so mean to her. Oh gosh. I was so angry. I was so FURIOUS. She's so soft and vulnerable and therefore an instant target. I absolutely ached for her. And all her highschool peers? They needed a hi-five in the face with a chair.

    Oh, except for Josh.

    Hannah meets Josh after the accident. She has zero friends, she's absolutely messed up, and it's all she can do to keep breathing (because there's a reason as well as just plain grief...something happened that I CANNOT TELL YOU ABOUT concerning the accident. It'll break your heart. Again). I loved Josh and Hannah's friendship. There are so many reasons it was awesome, like, a) the emphasis was on them being friends which is what Hannah needed, and b) Josh was a real caring softie, but the class clown, but kind of an idiot, and c) Josh talked a lot. And by "a lot" I mean he didn't shut up. It's awesome to read about a talkative guy for once while the girl says very little.

    It's really very Australian too, which is refreshing. Besides the Australian humour and dialogue was brilliant. Absolutely spot-on brilliant. I even smiled a bit. Come now! This is a book about a devastating death of a sister...and yet there were still moments of complete sarcasm that made me smile.

    Basically the whole book is freakishly fantastically written. You want to know why? Because I felt while I was reading it. I was sad and smiled and burned angry and then cried a bit. If an author can evoke emotion while writing a book, they're absolutely fantastically talented.

  • The writing is beautiful and raw

    by on

    Keep a close eye on Claire Zorn, guys, this author is going places. The Protected is my first novel by Claire Zorn, and it blew me away. This story centers around fifteen year old Hannah, whose sister passed away a year ago and is still trying to pick herself and her family up from the wreckage.

    Hannah's life has never been easy. Before the accident, she was bullied, treated like nothing different to a toy, just prodded and mocked at. After the accident, the bullying stopped, but Hannah became sisterless, her father was severely injured and her once professional homemaker mother got depressed and hasn't left the house since her sister's funeral. Honestly, I don't know how Hannah does it, how she managed to endure it all. I absolutely adored her narration, it's full of wit and raw emotion, and totally sucked me into her head.

    Friendship is such a strong element in Claire Zorn's novel. Josh was the new boy at school and he was so accepting and positive towards Hannah. I don't really see him as a love interest even though he sort of becomes one throughout the novel but his role as a best friend is of utmost importance. I loved how Hannah found hope and saw Josh as a way to rebuild and reorganise her life, Hannah and Josh's friendship was palpable and well developed, and their conversations always left a smile on my face.

    The Protected isn't just told in the present. Hannah shows us her past before the accident during the time she was bullied and how she lost her only friend, Charlotte, till the time after her accident when suddenly all the bullies had backed off. I found it truly heart-breaking but interesting to see how one small thing could lead to so much destruction. We also get to see glimpses of Katie and Hannah's sisterly relationship. Not all sister relationships are perfect, and I liked how their relationship was portrayed--their grudges and occasional bitterness towards each other--and soon we begin to understand Hannah's guilt and grief ourselves.

    Furthermore, I loved the writing and how beautiful and raw it was. I was completely immersed into Hannah's world, I could feel every emotion, and understand every thought.

    Can I talk about the setting for a moment? I loved it. I loved the heat and the setting by the mountains. Something about it just made everything feel more real.

    I think Claire Zorn has found a place on my favourite Aussie YA list, the realistic characters and beautiful relationships have all dug under my skin. There's no doubt that I will be picking up The Sky So Heavy sometime soon.