Drawing you in from the very first page, The Gulf makes you part of this little family from the start. Dysfunctional relationships, kids grown-up too fast and family violence are all popular subjects in today's world, but somehow Anna Spargo-Ryan weaves them in a way which allows the subjects of the story to be the focus, not the narrative itself. Seeing their world through the eyes of Skye, the 16-year old linchpin of the family, the view is somehow both refreshing and mundane. Dealing with some of the worst the world has to offer, Skye takes in her stride in a way that is strikingly real, but which popular culture rarely manages to address. Real without being voyeuristic. Dramatic without being sensational. This is one of the best portrayals of a story of suburban family violence I have ever read. It tells the story of many hundreds of families without artifice, but still with words and phrases that take your breath away. 'He smiled, crushed me in his solitary dimple,' was a particular highlight. This is a book for adults and young adults alike. I wish 16-year old me had had a book like this - knowing that there were other 'Skyes' out there would have helped me feel less alone.