Thrill Seekers

Thrill Seekers

The NSW Premier’s Award Judges Report describes Thrill Seekers like this:

 “Edwina Shaw’s spotlight-sharp portrait of teenagers growing up fast and loose, dazed and confused in 1980s Brisbane is so real it hurts. Drive by a daily search for sensation, Dougie and his band of boys wander the streets with a mesmerising combination of aimlessness and pure driven focus.

 With whip-like prose Shaw lets us into the lives of the thrill-seekers, this gang of boys on the cusp of adulthood, and the girls who hang around them, unwisely in most instances. Shaw unsparingly scans the booze, drugs, sex and stupidity, but also sees the tender friendships, the desire to be understood and the near-permanent fear of teendom. At the centre of the novel is Dougie, a fearless schizophrenic. Shaw’s brother, who suffered from the same condition, killed himself at twenty. This novel is a quiet tribute to him, and a louder one to Shaw’s talent as a writer.”

 “EDWINA SHAW has produced a remarkable first novel. She evokes setting and mood with the mastery of a true writer, but what readers will most discover in these pages is a real love of life and people. Edwina’s story sparkles like a diamond which can nevertheless cut very deeply indeed. Thrillseekers is a memorable and thrilling debut, and I can’t wait to read more of this writer’s work.”

Veny Armanno,  prize winning author of The Volcano, Firehead and seven other novels

 “Edwina Shaw is a virtuoso in the school of gritty realism. Her writing has a raw visceral power that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. Edwina is a natural storyteller with an unfailing ear for the true speech of the everyday. She has a remarkable ability to get inside the heads of a wide range of characters and to portray them with a sympathetic but unsentimental realism.” 

Amanda Lohrey

author of the prize winning Reading Madam Bovary, Vertigo, The Philosopher’s Doll and Camille’s Bread

 “Sometimes I know a book is going to be special just by the feeling of the first line. The characters are already talking to me – already pulling me into their world and it’s too late for me to turn back, even if I want to.  I’m in until the end.

Thrill Seekers is so real – so very true that you can’t help but be moved. Simple, beautiful writing with a massive heart – I just love this book.”

Favel Parrett  author of Past the Shallows

 “Gritty, real and beautifully written, this book is sure to interest the young and young at heart with its compelling story.  Highly recommended for use in the classroom as a platform to inform and discuss the wider issues of growing up in modern Australian society.”

Marina Mattson. Classroom teacher  

 “Edwina Shaw’s ‘Thrill Seekers’ is a poignant story of how a volatile mix of grief, drugs and mental illness pushes and pulls at the loyalties of a group of school mates as they navigate the currents of adulthood. Told from the points of view of each central character, the story presents an honest, unflinching look at how we test ourselves, our friends and families, learning to forgive and accept even more than we thought ourselves capable of.”

 Erica Sontheimer, Deputy Editor, Griffith REVIEW

 “As a Youth Worker for a national organisation, I thoroughly identified with the characters and their behaviours in this candid look at a slice of Australian youth. Edwina has captured the essence of the dramas associated with growing up, the pull and lure of peer groups and the experiences that mould young minds. An insightful and candid look at friendship, growing up and what parents don’t want to know. A thrill to read.”

Neil Mattson, youth worker


Thrill Seekersis one of those special books that brings you inside both the heart and mind of several characters without missing a beat. You a totally ‘there’ for all of them, and constantly alert to what might happen next. Edwina expertly balances the grittiness of life for this group of adolescents with insights of extraordinary empathy and wisdom. Finishing the book, one thought came to mind: Thrill Seekers should be on the English curriculum list of every high school in Australia – and compulsory reading for parents. “Megan Hills Wordmix  “I loved the book, brought back lots of memories. Drugs, goon, break and enters, and friends going mad from too much acid and pot– All too familiar. One of my close friends lost his mind when I was about 20; in and out of institutions before being killed in jail. I still think of Brett often, and wonder how those last couple of years of life panned out for him.”

 Dirty Geoff

“I read your book in a day! It was great, it drew me right in and I couldn’t put it down. I think you nailed the characters just right, and portrayed the reality of addiction and mental illness/chaos really well. It read like episodes out of my own life.”

Kate K. Author Matters To A Head: Cannabis, mental illness & recovery

“For two days I was engrossed in Thrill Seekers world. Working in a school library I know students will embrace it too.”

 Cath Paruzek school librarian
“Reading Thrill Seekers over the weekend, I have to say it’s a great book. Not great as in ‘really good’ but as in a touch of greatness. It affected me a lot and gave me a lot to think about. It deserves to do very well. I hope it does.”

Stephen Rickard Ransom Publishing

“I loved the book – I read it in one session, unable to put it down. I was drawn in from the first, and while the subject matter is hard, found the directness of the writing gave me a complete world to enter.”

Penny Ryan director RPR Consulting

 “A book with a lot of integrity. It treats its difficult subject matter without romanticising it, and without moralising.” Jonathan Shaw (blogs at Me Fail I Fly and ex-editor of the School Magazine NSW)




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