Book Review: Shauna’s Great Expectations by Kathleen Loughnan

Published in 2019 by Allen and Unwin

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

Page Count: 308

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Allen & Unwin:

A fresh and compelling novel about an Aboriginal scholarship student and her surprising final year of school.

Shauna is in her final year at an elite private school and has great expectations. She holds an Indigenous scholarship and is determined to be the first member of her family to go to university, no matter what. The year is off to an excellent start, and she and her friends are dreaming big about life after school and a trip to Paris.

But suddenly she’s faced with a choice that threatens to throw all her plans into disarray. As pressure builds from every corner of her world, Shauna wonders what she’ll have to sacrifice to keep hold of her dreams… Can she fulfil her own promise and still keep her promises to others? Will all her expectations be ripped away?

My Review:

Thank you to AusYABloggers and Allen & Unwin for providing me with a copy of Shauna’s Great Expectations as part of the AusYABloggers Instagram Tour. All thoughts are my own!

I found this to be a super refreshing, own voices, loveOzYA debut! It really made me think about the treatment of Indigenous Australians in this day and age, so I definitely think this book is more than relevant in today’s society.

Initially, I was absorbed by Shauna as a main character, and I enjoyed learning about her family, the history of them and where they came from, and of course how Shauna herself will soon be the first Indigenous student to graduate on a scholarship at an elite boarding school. There were times when I couldn’t help but feel utterly proud of how far Shauna had come from the start of the story to the end, there were definitely a few (well one big twist) in her journey that she (and I) did not at all envision coming her way!

I throughly enjoyed Kathleen Loughnan’s writing, the book just felt like it was flying by, and I couldn’t put it down! I loved every moment where Shauna and her friends were concerned, they were all just such a quirky and refreshing bunch, who always stood by one another through thick and thin and always shown one another support in the highest regard! I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing Olivia’s character growth, honestly, she was a character who I was seeing as such a cheeky rat, to someone sincere by the end! Definitely a credit to the author’s writing for developing her, and everyone, so well! It honestly felt like I was a part of their inner circle, which was quite fun!

I also loved the interaction with Shauna and her parents, especially her mother, who initially was more bleak and distraught after a family tragedy, however her character development in lieu of some unexpected and exciting news from Shauna, well, it was great seeing her become more enthused about life again and of course being there for Shauna more!

It was great seeing Shauna stand up for herself too, when she felt targeted for her race, and would not put up with the unfair treatment! And I couldn’t have agreed with her logic more, I mean, it does feel a a bit obscure that…well, I think if you’ve read the book or when you do, that you’ll know what I mean and agree.

At any rate though, no one should ever be bullied or given wrong treatment based on their race! And it’s definitely a shame that some Indigenous people don’t feel welcome in their own country! I must admit, and I totally again credit Kathleen Loughnan’s writing for opening my eyes and mind to perhaps how these people might feel and even think!

Shauna feels like she’s often judged and watched, describing how she wouldn’t have to have store workers follow her around (in a dream trip to Paris), and that just kind of made me feel sad, for Shauna is a lovely character really. I mean I definitely don’t agree with her anti abortion thoughts, but that is her opinion and that’s fine!

All in all, a wonderfully refreshing, often thought provoking and sometimes eye opening read! I definitely would be interested to see what is next from Kathleen Loughnan! A refreshing book that I think everyone should read!

A big thank you to AusYABloggers for putting the Shauna’s Great Expectations blog tour together, and to Allen & Unwin for providing a copy of the book for review!

Happy Reading,


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