Too Flash is an engrossing chapter book for older readers. Penned by Melissa Lucashenko, an Australian writer of mixed European and Murri heritage she articulates the trials and tribulations of Zo, a fifteen year old who is forced to move across country when her career focused mum is relocated by her employer.
Too Flash is a coming of age narrative, the main focus being the conflict that emerges between Zo and Missy. Zo and her mum live in smart spacious apartment, brimming with furniture, solitude and a fridge over flowing food. This is very different to Missy’s home life which is vibrant, supportive … crowded and challenging. Despite bonding with each other from the start, their different economic backgrounds and attitudes lead to conflict as each tries to develop their own direction and sense of identity.
Lucashenko deals directly with the prejudice faced by her Indigenous characters. The scene with the Estate Agent is shocking due to the sly manner in which the character attempts to hide the real motives behind his actions. Both Zo and Missy end up on the receiving end of racist remarks from fellow student, Elle Hammond.
With friendships at breaking point, school principal Ms Levy arranges for a small group of girls – including Zo, Missy and Elle – to embark on a camping trip to Mount Gooree. Elders Aunty Marnie and Aunty Barb have much to teach the girls about their identity and how to handle themselves. The two Aunties are presented as formidable characters, with hearts of gold.
Through the aunties Lucashenko debunks many myths surrounding Australian Indigenous culture. They deal with Elle’s naive, misguided comments and empower both Zo and Missy to express their thoughts and feelings.
Too Flash gives a strong, powerful voice to Australian teenagers. An enjoyable novel from a talented writer.