Only Ever Always

Front Cover
Allen & Unwin, Aug 1, 2011 - Juvenile Fiction - 180 pages
0 Reviews
WINNER: 2012 NSW Premier s Literary Awards, Ethel Turner Prize for Young People s Literature

Who dreams the dreamer?

Claire lives in an ordinary world where everything is whole. But inside Claire is broken. The silvery notes of her music box allow her an escape from her grief into a dream-world, into Clara's world.

Clara's world has always been broken. She finds broken things to swap at the markets; she walks the treacherous route past the brown river where lone dogs prowl; she avoids the seamy side when she can, but with powerful people pulling the strings, it's not always possible.

Which world is real?

Claire's and Clara's paths are set to collide, and each has much to lose - or gain.

Original and poetic, this captivating novel explores dreams, grief, friendship and love through a brilliantly constructed dystopian fantasy world.

'Like the sound of the little loved music box that is so pivotal to the story, Penni Russon's Only Ever Always is both deeply touching and strangely eerie, leaving the reader with a mixture of warmth and apprehension, yearning and wonder - about death, life, language, art,dreams and childhood. Fascinating and absolutely memorable.' - Ursula Dubosarsky

What people are saying - Write a review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

This odd, convoluted fable feels incomplete and isn't an easy read, but its haunting imagery has staying power.Claire's first treasure was the music box Uncle Charlie gave her. When he's badly injured ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2011)

Penni Russon was born in Hobart, and spent her childhood roaming around on a small mountain. Eventually she had to grow up, and she moved from Tasmania to Melbourne to study classics, archaeology, women's studies and contemporary literature. She writes, edits and teaches creative writing, and lives in outer Melbourne with her husband and three children.

Find out more about Penni at, or her blog

Bibliographic information