It struck me this week that I never posted a blog reflecting on the year that was. I wrote about my favourite reads from the past year, but nothing that touched on my personal highlights from 2018. Yes, it’s February already, but the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
For me, 2018 was dominated by the publication of my fifth book – Mine – a teenage love story set in Cape Town, published exactly a year ago, just in time for Valentine’s day.
Mine tells the story of Fin and Kayla, and traces how they met and the romance that blooms after.
It’s a rollercoaster of a love story and it’s been a rollercoaster of a ride.
Thanks in part to the beautifully illustrated cover by Cape Town artist Astrid Blumer, news of the book’s publication was picked up by Bleeding Cool and then other sites followed.
There were launches at The Company’s Garden and The Book Lounge, followed by a host of kind reviews by even kinder reviewers in the national newspapers as well as the glossies (although my debut spread in the Fair Lady was overshadowed by a camera-loving squirrel!)
Here are some snippets from my favourite reviews:
One of SA’s best voices in teen and young adult fiction, Sally delivers another stellar and heartbreaking book which kept me reading well into the wee hours of the morning. It’s not an easy read, but it’s an important one. Women24, May 2018
Mine is real. The characters you can see in the faces of that kid in the back row at school, in the sad glance across an office cubicle, in the overheard conversation in the queue and in the douche nozzle that feeds you that line at a club – Mine is real broken people, trying to find redemption in love. In other words, a perfect read for someone wanting more than just the typical YA novel. From the Library Floor
I will just say that this book should be an essential part of any YA selection in libraries or in private ownership! Buy it, read it and share it – you will, laugh, you will cry, you will get angry and at the end you will say “Jesus I did not see that coming!” (well that is what I said anyway), I am still not over it – thanks Sally! Mine is a beautiful, broken love story that will remain with you long after you have finished reading. Teen Librarian
Be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions as Sally Partridge brings you her best work yet. Marie Claire, April 2018
Mine is exceptional, from the fast-paced plot, evocative landscape and haunting characters to the awesome cover art by illustrator Astrid Blumer. The Sunday Times, March 2018
Mine will appeal to anyone who has dared to defy his or her one’s own demons for love. Partridge is an acclaimed novelist and short story writer. Three out of her previous novels published locally were awarded the prestigious M.E.R. Prize for Best Youth Novel. The fifth one appeared only in German translation. She has been recognised by IBBY International for her young adult fiction. Mine is her best work to date. Cape Times, March 2018
Through Fin and Kayla, Partridge explores serious issues that are often ignored, such as ‘player’ culture, manipulation and peer pressure. And she does it in a way that’s bound to grab teens’ attention. You Magazine, April 2018
Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to read and review my book. And thank you to all the amazing local bookstagrammers for their incredible pictures on Instagram. It made it real to me that there were actually people out there reading my book – and liking it!
As part of the publicity tour, I travelled to Joburg for a couple of school visits as well as the Kingsmead Book Fair and was invited to participate in literary events in Knysna, Franschhoek and Cape Town – including the Open Book Festival and FanCon (where I cosplayed Rick Sanchez on my panel with Mohale Mashigo).
I met the most incredible people at every stop, especially the schools. I absolutely love speaking with learners, so for me the tour was incredibly rewarding. I made sure there were plenty of Mine bookmarks and stickers to go around and even left some at bookstores in all the places I visited.
It was a year of highlights, but one moment that stands out was the impossible moment Mine was chosen for the Exclusive Books Homebru list, making it accessible to a whole new audience of readers. The announcement was followed by another launch, more readings (and bookmark drops), one TV and two radio interviews. (Thanks everyone who got up extra early for my breakfast TV slot.)
I also received some of the most incredible feedback from readers.
Having a book published and seeing it in print is a very proud moment. You made something and put it out into the world and that’s incredible. But when readers tell you how meaningful the book is to them it’s completely surreal. Thank you to every person who wrote to me or came to talk to me at events and readings. It made a very proud moment in my life even more special. I love what I do and thanks to all of you, I love it even more.
So here, finally, is my best-in-9 collage that sums up the best moments of 2018.
Actually, one more thing happened in 2018 that I didn’t mention above. I found love. And while a year has passed and Mine will inevitably disappear from the front-of-store shelves to make room for newer books, I get to enjoy another year with my special someone and experience all new highlights.
So happy Valentine’s Day everybody. May your year ahead be filled with love and romance and cherished memories.
Here’s to love.
If you’d like to buy a copy of Mine, you can do so online from the following retailers: