Looking for Alibrandi (published in 1992) is set in Sydney in the early 90s and follows Josephine Alibrandi as she discovers herself. She is completing a scholarship in Year Twelve at an exclusive Catholic school and feels left out because she is not from the wealthy background of most of the other students. Her family is Italian, and she feels alienated from this community because her mother is unmarried and they have always been the source of gossip. Her father has returned to Sydney, and she does not know how this will affect her – or her mother. Josephine wants to fit in, but is also strong willed and wants to do things her own way.
There were a lot of things I really enjoyed about this novel. Alibrandi is a fabulous character – flawed, but in a very likeable way. This is a book that teens have been reading for several decades and it still rings very true.