Heeter, Michelle Renee: Riggs Crossing.
** HEETER, Michelle Renee Riggs Crossing Ford St, 2012 306pp $19.95 pbk ISBN 9781921665707 SCIS 1570761
'Len' is a girl found in the wreckage of a car crash. She appears to be suffering from amnesia and Len is given to her as it is the name on the jumper she was wearing when she was found. Much of the narrative is in the first person and we gradually learn about Len's past life through a series of flashbacks, many of which she doesn't care to reveal to the social workers and psychologists at the Refuge to which she is taken after her recovery from her injuries. The story is interspersed in places with reports from psychologists about Sam and these give a different perspective on the girl from her own narrative.
Sam is a feisty, intelligent heroine, who is often intolerant of other people's foibles. Her comments are frequently acerbic and insensitive, although we see her develop greater tolerance as she learns more about other people. She struggles at times to come to terms with her memories and with the grief for her father.
Her father was loving and gentle with her but we learn that her mother was killed by a 'backpacker murderer' and her father actually grew commercial quantities of marijuana. Len (real name Samantha) knew about this and it is where she learned to keep secrets. While at the Refuge Sam is given the opportunity to have private tutoring with a university lecturer whose research project is on highly intelligent young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Sam develops a good rapport with her teacher, who encourages her in her ambition to become a vet. Although the ending of the book is rather enigmatic, we are left feeling that Sam will develop the self-discipline to work hard at her studies and make something of her life.
** Book by an Australian author or illustrator