Your Preview Verdict: A Caravan Like a Canary by Sasha Wasley

Your Preview Verdict: A Caravan Like a Canary by Sasha Wasley

Two road trips. Twenty years apart. Can the memories of a troubled family past finally be put to rest?

When Tara Button’s mother asks her to drive the bright yellow family caravan from one end of the state to the other, it’s her charming but unreliable brother, Zac, who convinces her it’s a good idea. Besides, the road trip might keep Zac out of trouble – and that’s always been a second job for Tara.

Tara doesn’t expect Zac’s enigmatic friend Danh to come along for the ride. Or the bikies that seem to be following them up the coast …

As they travel along the open road, memories of the Buttons’ last trip in the caravan engulf Tara, while a rediscovered love for the wild, glorious ocean chips away at her reserve. When forced to face her past, will she find the courage to let go and discover her dreams?

Read some great reviews from our Preview readers here:

I thoroughly enjoyed this family road-trip story, especially as it is set in my home state. Sasha’s characters were very easy to picture and I especially loved the internal dialogue of Tara. Moving backwards and forwards between time was well written and added depth to the whole story. This was a book I couldn’t put down and had me feeling all the feelings. I really love discovering local to me authors. Sasha Wasley has now been added to that list. Chrissie, WA, 5 Stars

‘Running away from your problems is a race you’ll never win… It’s no use running, the memories can keep up…’ Tara, a thirty-something who colours between the lines is roped into a reluctant trip to return a canary yellow caravan to her dying mother. Accompanying her are her enigmatic and troubled brother, Zac, and his calm and contemplative childhood friend, Danh. Together, the trio embark on a journey fraught with danger, being pursued by bikies, bad memories and a deadline made more real by their mother’s terminal cancer. I throughly enjoyed discovering Tara’s journey through her present state and her devastating history with the benefit of hindsight. A Caravan Like A Canary takes readers through complicated family histories, past trauma and a journey of self-discovery, all while Tara attempts to reconcile her mother’s actions. This was a wonderful novel with various layers of intrigue as we journey through the Buttons’ past, while they face constant challenges on their roadtrip to fulfil their mother’s dying wishes. Tara’s grief, her constant worry and responsibility for her family, and attempts to assess her life’s direction really resonated with this reader. Sasha Wasley’s novel was a funny, emotional and thought-provoking read. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next. Lisa, VIC, 5 Stars

A gorgeous novel, equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming. I loved A caravan like a canary and couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend this novel to anyone. Dianne, SA, 5 Stars

A good story is one that grabs you right from the start and doesn’t let go until you’ve finished the book. A Caravan like a Canary is one such book. The characters were believable, some to love, some to hate. Going backwards and forwards can sometimes be very annoying but not in this case. It was very well done, being easy to know immediately that you were going back. Lots of topics and social issues covered, including various forms abuse, angst and loyalty. A really enjoyable book. Jenn, VIC, 5 Stars

A Caravan Like a Canary takes the reader on a journey through the eyes of a flawed-but-relatable protagonist trying to keep her carefully constructed life in order. Tara Button clearly still operates as the responsible oldest sibling as she herds her free-spirit younger brother on a road trip to visit their sick mother, but as the story unfolds in a satisfying combination of present day and flashback revelations, we see that the life Tara has constructed is simply success at arm’s length. Her brother, Zac, and his friend Danh work beautifully to pick away at Tara’s carefully constructed assumptions while messages from her mother deepen both the mystery and frustration as readers wonder where it’s all really leading. I admire Wasley for portraying her characters in a wholly believable way and I also appreciated having some twists and turns right up to the end. Ultimately, anyone who enjoys stories about unravelling family secrets will enjoy this compelling new novel. I loved the messages this novel shares including the truth that trauma doesn’t need to force us into a life-less-lived, but can offer us the opportunity to rediscover and experience what really light us up. Anjanette, NSW, 5 Stars

A Caravan like a Canary? I was intrigued from the outset to dive into Sasha Wasley’s novel and find out more. A wonderfully written, gripping story, that took me on a journey of laughter, frustration, heart wrenching sadness that dampened the pages, and also happiness and hopefulness. The story follows Tara Button as she ventures, reluctantly on a road trip up the coast of WA at her ill mother’s request, a familiar trip to the town of Elsewhere, that she had taken 20 years earlier, with her mother and 2 siblings, on the run from a tragic childhood. The novel explores themes of broken family relationships, loss, domestic violence, growing up, a heartwarming slow burn romance and even a touch of politics. The characters in the book have a genuine feel, making the novel quite relatable. Tara, the responsible eldest sibling is a stickler for the rules, while younger brother Zac is more reckless, attracting trouble with bikies. Danh is an absolutely endearing character, encouraging Tara to find herself, her passions and the good things in life. A thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking read! Rebecca, NSW, 5 Stars

What a great read. I couldn’t put it down. I felt the emotions of pain, frustration and joy as you went through book. I loved the way the characters drew you on the journey throughout the book. It showcased the way family dynamics can change and grow through season of life. Kaela, NSW, 5 Stars

I recently received an ARC copy of A caravan like a canary by Sasha Wasley thanks to #Better Reading and Pantera press. It is a classic tale of a dysfunctional family the Buttons. Highly strung Tara and her wayward brother Zac. They’re summoned by their estranged mother to go on a roadtrip to a remote community called Elsewhere as there are matters that need to be resolved before she dies from terminal cancer. They must take the old unroadworthy canary yellow caravan with them. Zac’s old school.mate Danh tags along looking for his next gig. The trip is not without drama and some funny incidents along the way. It is told through 3 different time periods seen through the eyes of different people and age groups. Along the way they nut out past hurts and find ways to forgive each other and unify before it’s too late. It’s a relatable story and a very moving and thought provoking one. I loved it. Hirell, NSW, 5 Stars

When I first started reading Sasha’s new novel I was unsure how I felt about it but I kept reading and now I’m glad I did. We follow Tara, Zac and Danh as they take the caravan from Perth up north to Tara and Zac’s mother at Elsewhere. On their journey north Tara reminisces about their first journey in the caravan with their mother as children. On this journey their adventures are so well written and described that you almost felt you were there with them. Tara is the reliable big sister, Zac is a bit of a larrikin and Danh is a strong silent person who was there when either Tara or Zac needed him. I thoroughly enjoyed A Caravan like a Canary so much so I have purchased three more of Sasha’s books to read as I have found a new Australian author to follow. I highly recommend A Caravan like a Canary which is a clean well written story and descriptive journey through outback Western Australia. Dianne, VIC, 5 Stars

From the moment I opened “A Caravan like a Canary” by Sasha Wasley, I was hooked. Trying to recreate family childhood adventures aren’t always a good idea. We aren’t the same people. Mix in Danh, a very private enigmatic friend of Zac’s. Makes an interesting mix. Being followed by a group of Bikies, adds a sense of urgency to get to their destination. Bridget, VIC, 5 Stars

What an absolutely wonderful book. Tara and her brother Zac have received a final wish from their Mother who is in a hospice, in the top end of Australia, and whom only has a couple of months left to live, it is for them both to go on a road trip together to deliver to her, her canary yellow caravan. It is a road trip that Tara and Zac had done previously, over 15 years prior with their Mum and their sister Sunny also. Tara is extremely hesitant, it is an extremely busy time at work for her, with the announcement of a police raid occurring within the next two weeks, which would require all hands on deck. The road trip with the Canary Yellow Caravan, is one of adventure and excitement, but also comes with suspense and fear. They are on a journey of self discovery, as both siblings learn more about each others personal lives and discover new things about themselves. They are followed and threatened by a motor cycle gang, and are running for their lives from this threat. If found this book outstanding. Once I started reading, I found it really difficult to put down. 5 Stars: It was amazing. It was compelling, entertaining and moving and often complex. I will definitely want to read more books by this author. Kylie, NSW, 5 Stars

Oh this book is simply divine! It has alllll the feels and is quite simply a must read, I loved it!! Tara Button has been asked to drive the old family caravan from one end of the state to the other and deliver it to her terminally ill mother. The bright yellow caravan has been sitting dilapidated in the backyard of Tara’s grandmother’s house for the past 20 years… and it is the caravan that contains painful memories from the last trip the Button family took. This is the story of two road trips, twenty years apart and the heartfelt journey of this beautiful little family as they rediscover themselves along the way… This gorgeous book made me smile as I read, laugh out loud, and brought tears to my eyes. It was inspiring and thought provoking, sad and sweet. A story that stays on your mind and brings joy to your heart. I highly recommend this charming, heartfelt and simply beautiful book! Chryssie, QLD, 5 Stars

This wonderful, heart wrenching, heart warming novel swept me on a tide of emotions ranging from anger, sadness, frustration, humour and plain, unadulterated love. The complicated family history of lab worker Tara Button and her relationship with younger brother Zac, form the backbone of an important road trip in an incongruously canary coloured caravan along with Zac’s friend, Danh, joining the trip for his own reasons. It is their dying mother’s wish that the caravan be brought to her, and this rundown van with its memories of a similar trip twenty years previously is ultimately a means of making amends, burning the past and daring to hope for a brighter future. I could see and feel these characters and locations. The pacing is perfect, the worrying tension of falling behind schedule, the sigh of relief when there are a few hours taken for an excursion on the water, the fear of pursuit or retribution catching up and dealing some deserved or otherwise punishment. As they travel, Tara, Zac and Danh reveal more of themselves to each other. Can Tara let go of the past and discover peace in the present? Lesley, QLD, 5 Stars

I had never read a book by Sasha Wasley prior to Caravan like a Canary but I will now. Tara is the rock that attempts to keep her brother on the straight and narrow which he try’s to slip from. The trip in the van brings memories of a trip 20 years ago , the slipping from now to then are added and give you a good history of the family. The description of the Australian bush and pubs along the way make you feel part of the trip. The environmental destruction in parts of the country are touched on with an added twist Family violence are discussed. The love of family are a key part of the book and new love adds a warm touch. This is a book that you want to have a sequel as what happens with Tara, Zac and Danh. Thank you to Better Reading for the opportunity to read this book. Pat, QLD, 5 Stars

A very easy book to read. It tells the story of a sister and brother during their lifetime and the many ups and downs they have endured. Very captivating when it changes from “Now” to “Then” or the various ages of the life story. Very sad at times, but tells the real stories of their life. Covers many topics, such as family violence, struggles of every-day life in families, their love lives, and life in general. The basis of the story is a trip the two take from Perth up to the north of Western Australia to see their mother, who is dying, and to take the family caravan back to her. The brother, however, is in denial of his mother’s health. The reader is taken on a great trip from Perth to the north of Western Australia, which takes up the majority of the book, and all the various stops made along the way. You get to read out about the towns where they stopped and the current socio-economic highlights of each town, together with the mystery mural painter. Very entertaining and easy to read book. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Glenice, VIC, 5 Stars

While being an easy read, this book will make readers laugh out loud in places and cry in others. It tackles some tough topics and makes you empathise with the main characters. I love Aussie stories and even better when I know the area being described and can be transported back there and actually “see” the landscapes as the characters see them. Jan, SA, 5 Stars

A caravan like a canary written by Sasha Wasley is a fun filled, heart-warming fiction novel. It had been twenty years since Tara Button had taken a road trip, when her mother asks her to drive the family’s bright yellow caravan from one end of the state to the other with her irresponsible brother Zac she reluctantly agrees. Tara knows the only way to discover who she is and what she wants out of life means she needs to step out of her comfort zone. Her problematic family past needs to be resolved, she has no clue just how far out of her comfort zone the trip will take her. I felt inspired by Tara’s ability to continue with her mission, even when she felt as if she was failing at it; the strength of character she displays in her ability to persevere is truly something amazing. This is just one of those books that, when you read it, you end up gaining a more positive outlook on both yourself and the world. The storyline flowed and the characters were very well written, they are so dimensional that I was able to see them perfectly in my mind. I could picture the scenery and the beautiful beaches as they travelled along the coastline. A caravan like a canary is an enthusiastic, deep, humorous story about travel, reconnection and self-discovery. Well done Sasha on another fantastic novel. Melissa, SA, 5 Stars

I loved this book! I literally could not put it down. The road trip in Western Australian landscape combined with the hint of trauma which gently unfolds had me eager to keep reading. The writing style is accessible to all and it’s just such a good story that is far more complicated than it seems. A great read! Lina, VIC, 5 Stars

Tara and Zac left Perth to travelled with their Mum and little sister Sunny in a canary yellow caravan on what they believed was a holiday travelling along the coast of Western Australia. Twenty years later Tara and Zac are being asked by their Mum to bring her old caravan to her in the town of Elsewhere. Tara has always watched out for Zac and helps him when he gets into trouble. She is the responsible one and really doesn’t want to take time off work as she is moving into her Nana’s house and has a lot to do. Zac on the other hand, can’t wait. The caravan is derelict. Zac and his long-time friend Dahn agree to get it road worthy and talk Tara into making the trip. What begins as a short journey to deliver the caravan, brings back childhood memories of their earlier trip. There are lots of twists and turns right up to the last pages as Tara, Zac and Dahn try to get safely to Elsewhere. Emotions run high as they each come to terms with their past and with each other. Kris, WA, 4 Stars

What an emotional roller coaster! This is my first Sasha Wasley book and it was quiet a ride. The book jumps between past and present and isn’t chronological, as you see snapshots of what happened and how it relates to the story now. Tara, her brother Zac and mutual friend Danh could not be three more different people however they share a history. I didn’t relate to any of the main characters but empathised with them. I shared in their sadness, despair, anger and frustrations. I was surprised at how much the story affected me emotionally and the impact it had on me after I turned the last page. For me I would have preferred a more satisfying ending but I understood why it was left open. Now I just want to set off on my own road trip with a caravan. Judy, NSW, 4 Stars

I really enjoyed this captivating and relatable story. Great depth to the characters and background story. Kim, NSW, 4 Stars

When Tara Button’s mother asks her to drive the bright yellow family caravan from one end of the state to the other, it’s her brother, Zac, who convinces her it’s a good idea. As they travel the open roads, Tara & Zac’s memories of the last time they were in this bright caravan continue to be dredged up. Why does their Mum insist on having it brought back to her? What is Zac hiding and why is his mate Danh riding with them? 🌝Thoughts: The bright yellow facade of the family caravan carries not only people, but a painful history they would all prefer didn’t happen. The memories that have been brought up for Tara, and Zac, of Sunny, (their little sister), thier dad and mum, and Tara’s responsibility for Zac throughout the years threaten to derail Tara and Zac in different ways. I thoroughly enjoyed this read, even though some of the family history was quite tough, and had me sitting quite tense through her memories. Sasha has a very easy & descriptive writing style and this ensures you feel like you are also going on the road. When you realise how tough their Mother had to be to survive, you realise why she did what she did. An Australian roadtrip, an ageing yellow caravan, a sick mother, a brother with no real life plan, Tara’s life lived so strictly and an old school friend unite to bring this story to life. Not everyone has a picture perfect family history and these stories help to remind us that we have survived and thrived, beaten the odds and have been able to love regardless of family history. Ali, TAS, 4 Stars

A heartwarming and thought provoking read about tricky family relationships, trauma, and the way they shape us. The characters are complex and endearing all at once and highlight the different ways that domestic violence impacts in children and the development of their personality. To highlight this, the story unfolds across multiple timelines. As the story of the Buttons is told you are able to develop a greater sense of why they are who they are and how their past has shaped their present. Issues of domestic violence, mental health, and substance misuse are raised with sensitivity, compassion and good humour in equal measure. The descriptions of the stunning West Australian coastline were so vivid that it made me feel like I was along for the ride. Mellisa, QLD, 4 Stars

This was my first book by Sasha Wasley, and I actually really enjoyed it! The start was a teensy bit slow, but it quickly picked up. A Caravan Like a Canary was so captivating, and I really enjoyed how the story was written – it kept me guessing what would be revealed. Tara is our protagonist and she, along with her brother, Zac, are tasked with bringing the very yellow caravan up to their mother up to the very top of Australia from Perth! After Zac’s best friend, Danh, helps get it ready to be back on the road, he joins them on their road trip – but the trio might be in for a lot more than they bargained for, with side-trips, bikies and graffiti galore. I really enjoyed learning more about the characters, and seeing them interact with each other – even if Zac gave me a bit of a headache HAHA. I really felt for Tara! She’s such a strong and resilient character, she’s been through so much, and really has to reassess everything on this journey. Overall, I thought this was a great introduction to Sasha Wasley, and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next! Shanayah, QLD, 4 Stars

A Caravan like a Canary started a bit slow for me and I think there should be a content warning for domestic and family violence for those that might find those subjects difficult to read about. Once the story gets going, picturing the scenery while travelling up the WA coast with Tara, Zac and Danh makes this book hard to put down even while confronting the challenging backstory. The relationship between Tara and Zac feels genuine. You can feel Tara’s reluctance to take the trip play out in her frustration with Zac and all the side trips they are forced to take because of him. The constant jumps in time could be difficult to follow but really help to explain the back story and keep it flowing. In the end, despite the slow start, I really enjoyed this book and am grateful to Better Reading and the publisher for providing the ARC in return for my honest review. Liv, ACT, 4 Stars

Tara is setting off across the length of Western Australia with a canary yellow caravan. But this is not her first trip in the caravan and it’s a trip she would prefer not to be making. The events leading up to and during the trip she made as a child have shaped the adult she has become. The second trip has its own set of challenges as she faces the past and how her relationship with her brother has evolved. As the kilometres traveled grow so does her realisation that she is not responsible for those around her, they must be accountable for their own choices in life. With this knowledge comes freedom, a sense of peace and opportunities. With this book Sasha explores the relationships we have with our families and how we can love them but sometimes not like them very much and that’s o.k. It also looks at how we build walls around ourselves to protect ourselves , how we limit our interactions with others for fear of being hurt . But it also shows us that it’s never to late to reach for our dreams. With his quiet strength, wonderful insights and unfailing loyalty Danh fast became my favourite character. Kathy, QLD, 4 Stars

This was a fun book. Really felt like I was driving around in the caravan with them. Makes me want to go on a road trip now. Praise for the author. Robbi, QLD, 4 Stars

Fabulous read overall. Loved the journey element across Western Australia and the flashbacks to characters childhood to piece together the story. Characters were likeable, found myself wanting to know more about them. A few laugh out loud moments made for a very enjoyable reading experience. Melissa, VIC, 4 Stars

A Caravan like a Canary is two stories blending into one. It covers two road trips, one now and one twenty years previous. Memories good and bad are brought to the surface. The story is set in Western Australia and is a road trip for Tara Button, her brother and his friend to visit her terminally ill mother. Memories are triggered along the way of a troubled childhood. Tara’s brother, Zac, is a irresponsible guy and his troubles follow them with bikies looking for money owed. An interesting story that is enjoyable to read. Helen, QLD, 4 Stars

The book started off a bit slow but once it picked up I was unable to put it down Such a good emotional and Raw story of family, consequences, tragedy and love with twists and turns that will keep you guessing. Not everyone’s siblings has there back like that The end left me angry due to one characters decisions but it was such a good read and I loved the characters Tara, Danh and Evelyn. And my favourite quote from the book was “When a weary task you find it, persevere and never mind it”. Madison, SA, 4 Stars

This book uncovers the impacts of domestic violence. As the story unfolds, with flashbacks, we find out about the trauma in Tara and Zac’s life, why they were on the run with their Mum when they were kids and how it has impacted their lives.It is a sad book in many ways, but there are some great characters, especially Nan. I liked the environmental issues as well, and the work done by Danh. There was a good twist at the end, and it really makes me want to travel to Western Australia. Lyn, VIC, 4 Stars

In ‘A Caravan Like a Canary’ Tara narrates the story of her journey returning the yellow caravan to her mother. Chapters alternate between now and then as the mysterious history surrounding the yellow caravan is revealed. Topical themes are explored and I found the story quite confronting in parts. I really enjoyed exploring Australia with Tara and the ending did not disappoint. This is an engaging read about family, love and standing up for your beliefs. Anne, VIC, 3 Stars

Reviews

5 Quick Questions with Sasha Wasley, Author of A Caravan Like a Canary

Review | Author Related

1 April 2022

5 Quick Questions with Sasha Wasley, Author of A Caravan Like a Canary

    A Warm Family Story: Read an Extract from A Caravan Like a Canary by Sasha Wasley

    Review | Extract

    30 March 2022

    A Warm Family Story: Read an Extract from A Caravan Like a Canary by Sasha Wasley

      A Moving Family Road-Trip: Read Our Review of A Caravan Like a Canary by Sasha Wasley

      Review | Our Review

      28 March 2022

      A Moving Family Road-Trip: Read Our Review of A Caravan Like a Canary by Sasha Wasley

        Related Articles

        Love, Strength, Resilience: Read an Extract From Love Song by Sasha Wasley

        News

        11 June 2019

        Love, Strength, Resilience: Read an Extract From Love Song by Sasha Wasley

          I Immediately Fell in Love With That Environment: Q&A With Sasha Wasley, Author of Love Song

          News

          11 June 2019

          I Immediately Fell in Love With That Environment: Q&A With Sasha Wasley, Author of Love Song

            Hopeful and Heartfelt: Review of Love Song by Sasha Wasley

            News

            11 June 2019

            Hopeful and Heartfelt: Review of Love Song by Sasha Wasley

              Publisher details

              A Caravan Like a Canary
              Author
              Sasha Wasley
              Publisher
              Pantera Press
              Genre
              Fiction
              Released
              29 March, 2022
              ISBN
              9780648987505

              Synopsis

              Two road trips. Twenty years apart. Can the memories of a troubled family past finally be put to rest?

              When Tara Button’s mother asks her to drive the bright yellow family caravan from one end of the state to the other, it’s her charming but unreliable brother, Zac, who convinces her it’s a good idea. Besides, the road trip might keep Zac out of trouble – and that’s always been a second job for Tara.

              Tara doesn’t expect Zac’s enigmatic friend Danh to come along for the ride. Or the bikies that seem to be following them up the coast …

              As they travel along the open road, memories of the Buttons’ last trip in the caravan engulf Tara, while a rediscovered love for the wild, glorious ocean chips away at her reserve. When forced to face her past, will she find the courage to let go and discover her dreams?

              Sasha Wasley
              About the author

              Sasha Wasley

              Sasha Wasley was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia. She has completed a PhD in cultural theory and loves nature, Jane Austen and puns. Sasha is a farming wannabe, with a passion for animals and the land. Although she’s in her forties now, she still wants a pony. Her debut novel, a young adult paranormal, was published in 2014. Today, she lives and writes in the Perth hills region with her partner and two daughters, surrounded by dogs, cats and chickens. Sasha writes mystery, paranormal and young adult novels as S.D. Wasley.

              Books by Sasha Wasley

              COMMENTS

              Leave a Reply

              Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *