When 18 year-old Maya leaves Chicago for a six week Australian home stay, she assumes she’s heading to beautiful Barangaroo with its famous Sydney Harbour views—NOT Barangaroo Creek, a stinking hot, fly-ridden, wi-fi dead zone hours from a decent body of water. Add her host brother, Gus, who wishes she landed in someone else’s sheep paddock, and Maya is convinced she’s in for six weeks of Hicksville hell.
Gus has an important trip planned this summer— a trip that does NOT include helping an animal-phobic girl from the States tick off items on her seriously clichéd Aussie must-do list. So he comes up with a list of his own—one guaranteed to send Maya back across the Pacific, leaving him free to enjoy the last of his freedom before he heads off to agricultural college like every generation of his family has. But when Maya doesn’t scare that easily, sparks begin to fly.
Soon Gus and Maya discover there are hidden depths to clichéd bucket-lists and secret summer trips, and that sometimes it takes someone half a world away to remind you of all the reasons you’re here.
Poor Maya. When she arrives from Chicago and finds herself in Barangaroo Creek, in the middle of nowhere, rather than the glamorous harbourside Barangaroo in Sydney that she was hoping for her perfect Australian adventure seems doomed.
This trip is supposed to be her chance to tick off the items on her bucket list - cuddling a koala, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and seeing the Opera House. So how is she going to do all this stuck on a sheep farm, with a host brother Gus who clearly does not want her to be there at all?
Gus’ summer has also not gone according to plan. Having Maya on the farm has ruined his summer trip too. But there is far more lurking below the surface for both of our main characters than just a ruined holiday. Can they help each other see what is really going on in their lives, and deal with the burdens that they are both carrying?
This is a wonderful story about acceptance, growth, family responsibility, following your dreams, along with some romance, that will suit all readers 14 and above.
Reviewed by Sam