The novel After January by Nick Earls follows seventeen year old Alex Delaine as he waits for his tertiary offer. Nick Earls positions readers to understand the invited reading by using relatable story lines, characters and settings. In this time of waiting Alex fights to overcome his anxiety, starts a relationship with a girl and improves his confidence.
Waiting for a tertiary offer is a process that Alex, and most teenagers must go through; ?waiting for the code that will tell [them] what happens next.?(p1). However, it is a very painful process which Nick Earls uses to help young readers to relate to Alex. Alex is spending time at the beach house where he has gone every summer but everything is about to change. He is scared because ?the end of January is the end of the known world.?(p1), he won?t be able to rely on the predictable. However, Alex discovers that not all unpredictable events are negative when he meets Fortuna.
Alex meeting Fortuna (teen love) is a relatable storyline that Nick Earls uses to position readers to understand Alex?s issues. Fortuna is individual, elusive and confident. She is tanned and has ?a small gold ring in her nose.? (p34). When her and Alex meet they seem to be very different, however, the soon fall in love. Not only do they have to deal with their new emotions, the also have to deal with their interesting families. Fortuna?s, being ?a hippy family? (p102) and Alex?s being ?yuppie.? (p156). Working through these issues and having Fortuna?s calm influences cause Alex to progressively become more confident and relaxed.
Most teenagers have issues with self confidence and not feeling adequate. Nick Earls positions readers by giving Alex confidence problems; like most of the readers. At the start of the novel Alex describes himself as having ?a body shape not often found desirable.? (p4) and believes himself to be almost incapable of finding a girlfriend. However, meeting Fortuna changes his whole view showing that confidence comes from the inside, is not looks and can be built up; everyone is desirable.
Nick Earls? novel After January deals with many difficult issues for teenagers such as anxiety, love and confidence. He positions readers by using relatable characters and story lines. It is a great story that is helpful and interesting for teenagers.