Book Review: High Rise by Vanessa Lee

Book Review: High Rise by Vanessa Lee

An eye-opening book set on the Australian East Coast a few years from now. None of us know exactly when the sea level rises will start to force change – whole families moving en masse away from their coastal communities – but we know it will happen eventually.

This book traces two intertwined families as they can no longer ignore the impact of storms, king tides and erratic weather on their beloved home.

Constant storms have already damaged Bombora’s coastline and no end is in sight. When rising tides force Vaga, the beloved beachfront restaurant, to finally close it is seen as a grim omen. Community rifts deepen, old friends clash, and some flee the idyllic suburb for safer ground, while others stand firm, defying the increasingly erratic weather.

Mick, a charismatic local figure, faces a family crisis as he grapples with the impending threat. A chance encounter with Renata, an old schoolmate, and her son Guil, a local surfer, forges an improbable alliance. As a menacing storm looms on the horizon, Mick and Guil rally Guil’s surfer friends to form a ragtag “tinnie army.” When the tempest strikes with unrelenting force, it triggers a chain of events that will alter their lives forever.


Bombora, once an idyllic seaside haven for surfers and the wealthy is now threatened by the changing weather and the ever increasing threat of climate change. Some decide to leave for safer ground but for the ones that choose to stay, life will never be the same.

When I was offered the chance to receive a copy of High Rise by Vanessa Lee to review, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The story is told from the point of view of multiple characters. Mick, a local businessman is doing all he can to hold on, even when his wife and children want to move away. I felt quite sorry for him as his heart seemed to be in the right place. I’m not sure what I would do in his position.

I did feel empathy for his wife, Sam. She has built her life around her husband’s business. However, when people start to move away, her life becomes very empty.

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