Welcome exploration of what feels like an underexplored part of Melbourne’s past.

May Callaghan is a good Catholic girl who is barely surviving the boredom of the small Victorian country town where she is finishing high school in 1968.

In the background, the Vietnam War and conscription is a constant threat to the young men she knows, and talk of it rattles her father, who has terrible war memories of his own.

May falls for Sam, who has an itch to get out of town that’s even bigger than her own; her cousin Lucy has her own ways of stretching the town’s moral strait-jacket.

Sam heads to Melbourne, landing in a share house in Carlton. When May follows, she’s confronted by a different world, one with draft dodgers and anti-war activists, and plenty of confrontations and excitement.

Her new circumstances transform her life, bringing condemnation from family and authorities, but she has Sam and her new housemates – indigenous student Clancy and bohemian Ruby – and that has to be enough.

Brewin’s debut is an engaging coming-of-age novel that explores a volatile and colourful part of Melbourne’s history.

She has received an Australian Society of Authors Emerging Writers and Illustrators mentorship.

This book was published in June 2017. The review appeared in the Herald Sun’s Weekend magazine,