Book Review: Mine

Mine by Sally Partridge is a novel that tells its story through the eyes of Finlay September and Kayla Murphy, both high schoolers living in Cape Town, South Africa. Finlay’s life is anything but easy. His mother left his family when he was younger and he lives with his abusive father in a poorly kept up house. He spends most of his time smoking weed and playing in a band, Dark Father, which has a decent fan base. Playing music is the only thing that has mattered to him, until he meets Kayla.

Kayla has never felt like she fit into her world. She knows that she is weird, and the Queen bee’s at her school have no problem telling her about how much of a loser she is. Kayla will do anything to not feel lonely, including sleeping with boys she knows does not care about her. The only class she cares about is Music and has the honor of being the only flautist in her school. She crushes on a boy named Sebastian in her music class, but can only admire from afar because she knows that no boy will ever like her back. However, to her surprise, he asks her on a date to the movies. When she shows up for the date, he ends up bringing her to his house instead of the movie theatre. He then walks her to his bedroom and immediately attempts to have sex with her. When she is confused and stops him, he tells her that he thought that’s what she does with every guy. While completely thrown off, she continues to give into what he wants.

Fin agrees to go to a concert with Julia, Brenan’s younger sister. Brenan is his long-time friend and also fellow band member in Dark Father. While Fin has known Julia since she was young and will always view her as Brenan’s little sister, she has grown up and develops a huge crush on Fin. While at the concert, he notices Kayla, the flautist that is playing along with Julia’s best friend, Lorinda. It turns out that Julia and her friends are the Queen bee’s at Kayla’s school and love to make her feel like an unworthy slut. Fin is infatuated by Kayla and asks her on a date. After that, he spends much of his time with her until she agrees to be his girlfriend. While both Kayla and Fin are happier than they have ever been together, Kayla is afraid that Fin will leave her and break her heart.

Kayla believes that she is undeserving of being loved and to be happy. After Fin initially tells her that he loves her, he does not say it again for eight more days. Kayla begins to doubt their relationship and when Craig, a boy from her past that she used to hook up with approaches her, she has sex with him and consequently cheats on Fin. Then, on the ninth day Fin tells her again that he loves her. Eventually, Julia tells Fin what Kayla has done with Craig and Fin breaks up with Kayla.

Both Kayla’s and Fin’s life after the breakup spiral out of control. Kayla becomes destructive to herself and those around her. She goes to the skate park and other places around her neighborhood to purposely engage in dangerous tricks. She even sets fire to the Music building of her school. As more time passes by, she finds friends in a group she meets at the skate park. One of her new friends is Louis, who she knows has a crush on her but she has no interest in him. Fin is kicked out of Dark Father, but begins his journey as a soloist.

Eventually Kayla and Fin get back together after Fin finds Kayla about to jump from a lighthouse to end her life. They embrace and attempt to try their relationship again. However, Kayla is just as insecure, if not more about their relationship. Fin tries his best to show her he cares about her and still loves her. When Fin gets busy with recording his own music and preparing for his big gig, Kayla puts herself back into Louis’ life. She hides from Fin that she has started to see Louis again and even kisses him. Fin finds this out when he reads her diary. They get into a heated argument that ends in Fin accidentally knocking Kayla down. Fin heads to his solo gig and is arrested afterwards because Louis reports that Fin has hit Kayla.

Both Fin and Kayla are angry and insecure through the whole story and continuously act on their impulses. The book shows the degradation of females by entertaining the idea that the only way to be loved is to sleep with people. All Kayla can first focus on his how unlovable she is and after someone good for her comes into her life, she ends up sabotaging the relationship by cheating on him. Then, she becomes furious that Fin “abandons” her and continuously claims that she knew he was going to leave her. They also are both extremely self-destructive, especially Kayla, who inflicts pain on herself whenever she feels emotional or wants to get back at Fin. She freaks out when Fin does not respond to her messages and claims that he is purposely ignoring her and will leave her again. When he begins to leave her, she always apologizes after the fact and when it’s too late. It takes Kayla to be on the edge of a suicide attempt for Fin to listen to her. While I do understand that the author wants to show the roller coaster of emotions an unstable relationship can endure, I would not recommend this book because there is no depth to the characters or story.

Works Cited

Partridge, Sally. Mine. Cape Town, Human & Rousseau, 2018.


Young Adult Literature in South Korea

In South Korea, education and financial success is placed at an extremely high standard for its citizens. After World War II, the nation worked to rebuild itself by launching its young people to the forefront of competition against others around the world. In the article “South Korea’s Book Market Reflects a Culture in Transition,” the author says, “From the time children can speak, many are raised with a sampling foundation of English books and translated works of foreign innovators ranging from Albert Einstein to Bill Gates and are taught to believe being the best only means they need to be better” (Moon 135). The Korean publishing industry mirrors the efforts of the nation to excel in education, research, and business. After the Korean War, the Korean government worked to eliminate widespread illiteracy and attending secondary schools or higher education meant a better life. As a result, Moon says, “Korean parents invest heavily and aggressively in their children’s education” (138). Because of this intensity placed on children’s education, children’s books are the top seller in Korea. This makes the translation industry huge and the success of books such as the Harry Potter series skyrocket for readers between the ages of 11 and 16 years (141).

While the market segment for children and younger adolescent’s books grew, there was not much of a market for teenage readers. This is due to the competitive university-entrance exams that consumed much of their time, leaving little time for leisurely reading. As a result, the nonfiction educational market for books continued to remain steady. Parents even favored titles that helped their children become smarter. However, the interest of young adult readers has shifted to stories that are real-life and coming-of-age centered. Moon says, “Books offer comfort, guidance, and sometimes escape from life’s harsh realities.”

While Korean literature is widely unknown in the United States, in 2014, the London Book Fair spotlighted the Korean literature market as a result of Korea’s status as one of the top ten publishing markets in the world. In Korea, many books that are published for young adults reflect the sad reality of growing up and living among the high pressures of their parents. However, best-selling author Gu Byeong-mo diverges from this theme to write a Korean fantasy fiction novel. The novel, Wizard Bakery, is about a 16-year old boy that runs away from home and explores a bakery that sells items baked by a wizard for medicinal purposes. She wrote this book to be lighthearted and spark curiosity among adolescent minds, while also challenging the perception of young adult literature in Korea. In fact, Wizard Bakery, became extremely popular among Mexican adolescents after being translated to La Panadería Encantada. The Korean government has further provided funding for Korean publishers to support translations of chosen literary works in order to reach the global market.

Works Cited

Information Service. “KOREA.NET.” Korean Novel Wins Mexican Teen Hearts : : The Official Website of the Republic of Korea,

“Korea Market Focus.” Korea Market Focus – The London Book Fair, 21 May 2013,

Koreatimes. “’Wizard’s Bakery’ Redefines Young Adult Literature.” Koreatimes, 8 Apr. 2016,

Moon, Karla. “South Korea’s Book Market Reflects a Culture in Transition.” Publishing Research Quarterly, vol. 30, no. 1, 2014, pp. 135–151., doi:10.1007/s12109-014-9349-4.