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Black Painted Fingernails - Steven Herrick Black Painted Fingernails by Australian author Steven Herrick was a quick one to two day read, encompassing one’s struggle to be who we want to be and do what we want to do despite the pressures inflicted from others. If you’re having trouble finding your purpose in life, then this is a story for you. Many teens can relate easily to the characters that are introduced in this novel.James and Sophie are well developed characters coming from two very different lives and families. James’ mother is very over-protective and can’t go very long without thinking or wondering about her son’s wellbeing. The signs of an over-protective mother with her only child. James’ father, a surgeon, is the opposite to his wife. He is laid-back and decides that it is James’ right to do what he wants with his life, persuading his wife to have this same outlook. Whereas with Sophie, her parents divorced and never knowing her mother, has grown up with a father and brothers. She escapes under ideal circumstances, crossing path with James on his trip to the country for his teacher-training.In this novel we are seeing alternating chapters between characters and point-of-views. James is seen through first person and his travel to teacher-training, and then with Sophie. There are chapters in third person of Sophie’s past for why she escaped from her small town and family. And then we have present third person chapters of James’ mother and father and how they’re coping with having their only son away. At first it was confusing, but then later on I thought that it slightly worked having given Steven Herrick some degree of freedom to work with this story and give more detail, character-work and backstory to Sophie’s and James’ lives and how they contrast one another.I do believe Steven Herrick did a great job at adapting this concept of struggling teens in a setting that’s close to home, with circumstances that are relatable to both teen and parental readers, but not to the point that it was executed extremely well. I enjoyed the story but it doesn’t stick out to me as a read that was memorable. At times I was interested and then other times I was just flicking pages. At times I was engaged and then other times I was not. Maybe I lost a touch lately for contemporary because I need something hard-core and twisted to keep me engaged.First paragraph:‘I’m stuck in cross-city traffic, smelling petrol fumes and watching the man in the car beside me sing along with his iPod. He closes his eyes opera-style and lets rip. His double chin wobbles as he strains for the high note.’Favourite quotes/lines:‘"Maybe what stays alive...is what we carry inside us."'