State Library of Victoria \ Inside a dog
Skip to main content

Peeling the Onion

Author:  Wendy Orr

Jenny rushes in; stops and turns pale at the sight of my scaffolded neck. This isn't what she expected to see - and for a moment Jenny, sunny, effervescent, ever-optimistic Jenny, stares at me and can't speak.

'They made a mistake - I broke my neck after all.'

Jenny begins to cry. And I think that maybe this is what best friends are for, not to be brave for you, but to tell you this is real, and it stinks.

Finding yourself in hospital, in a bed full of shattered glass, is traumatic. Coming to terms with probable long-term difficulties is something else again - slow, painful, full of obstacles and questions with no clear answers. Anna is used to being athletic, popular, 'normal'. Now she feels the layers of her familiar self being peeled away; nothing is normal or easy. Can she pick up the pieces of her life? What part will Hayden and Luke play? And who, now, is Anna Duncan?

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)


Aug 31,2017
This review is a spoiler. View anyway?

In this book a girl gets into a serious accident, and whilst healing her injuries she learns alot about herself and the people around her, what she wants in life and how shes going to get it. Overall this book was pretty good the underlying values and the character layers where alright, the story gets a little boring around the middle, but the start and ending are really good.


Me and my friends (who also read this book) came up with I funny idea that when Luke kissed Anna on the neck towards the end, that if he did it again he might break her neck again and she'd end up with Hayden after all.

Aug 22,2017

This book is unbelievably frustrating to read. But that’s a good thing. Rating 3.5/5

Anna is a person that has been through so much but refuses to be held back by what other people tell her. She often tries to do the impossible and does not give up. 

the reason this book wasn’t 4 or even 5 stars was because at one point or another I hated all the characters in this book(except Luke) every single person was so self-centred and was so focused on how bad they felt about Anna and how people should feel sorry for them! They didn’t care about Anna or her real actually problems. 

The only characters I like where jenny, Luke and Anna. I found her parents endlessly frustrating! Every ten second they would yell at Anna for nothing or telling someone how bad Anna’s accident was for THEM! The whole problem could have been fixed if they had just taken Anna to a hospital in Melbourne and gotten her a proper specialist doctor! They knew that the doctors where horrible they said it themselves but they refused to move Anna! The doctors at the place where horrible, cruel and egotistical and well as completely stupid! They couldn’t even figure out that someone who was complaining about a sore neck and screams in pain whenever she is moved had a broken neck! The first thing you do with a car crash victim is check there neck and the whole body for broken bones it really doesn’t take much thought!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also the doctor where just .,........AHHHSAFGHWKSMNUIWKDNEH2UWISKDBWQHJSDNBWGHQJSIU190-[QPKJ!!!!1     they were so frustrating and they just couldn’t admit that they were wrong even when the proof was shoved in their face!!! I hated them all with a passion. 

And I found the ending to be cute in theory but quite unsatisfying. 


I like the way the book was written which was a surprise because I generally hate this type of writing. Wendy Orr just had a way of making you feel everything that Anna was going through. You wanted to fight for her and cry for her. And on another note the way it was written you where meant to be frustrated during the whole book. It was full of amazing and annoying characters, awesome plot twists and an amazing story line. 

All in all I actually liked this book                                                                                                                                             joyful reading- abbey 

PS Hayden and Caroline need to die in a hole 


Jan 26,2010
anonymous's picture
anonymous (not verified)

17-year-old Anna Duncan's life takes a turn after she is severely injured in a car crash. She must come to terms with pain and terrible knowledge before she begins to find herself and sort out her life again.

The best part of this book was...
It was written in a stilted fashion, which I don't usually like, but it really suited the storyline.
This book is similar to...
Looking for Alibrandi. Anna and Josephine, although in different circumstances, explore the same issues, love death and finding your true self.
The best place to read this book is...
In a nice warm bed with a dim yellow light.
The soundtrack of this book should be...
Slow, thought provoking music that just unfolds as you listen.

Apr 02,2009
anonymous's picture
anonymous (not verified)

This is a wonderful novel about a 17 year old girl called Anna. She goes through more than enough bad experiences, the worst of them being involved in a car accident.

The best part of this book was...
Anna goes through some every day 'normal' experiences for a teen. The best of them being her romance with two of the main characters in the novel, Luke and Hayden.
This book is similar to...
You would have to enjoy problem solving to connect/understand Anna in this novel.
The best place to read this book is...
In a quiet place, as not to be disturbed because once you start reading this novel, there's nothing stopping you.
The soundtrack of this book should be...
Relaxing and soothing music to keep everyone calm.


People Who Read This Book Also Read

  • Storm (Elementals 1)

    Storm (Elementals 1)

    by Brigid Kemmerer

    Four brothers, four powerful elements, and one girl caught in the middle.When Becca Chandler saves C

    Read Review
  • Where She Went

    Where She Went

    by Gayle Forman

    It’s been three years since Adam’s love saved Mia after the accident that annihilated life as sh

    Read Review
  • Holier Than Thou

    Holier Than Thou

    by Laura Buzo

    From the author of Good Oil, this extraordinary, bittersweet novel portrays a slice of Australian c

    Read Review

File 12746