Love and self-discovery in Jeffreys Bay

Sally Partridge

Durbanville author Sally Partridge has released her sixth novel, Sea Star Summer, a love story set in Jeffreys Bay. 

Partridge, who writes fiction for young adults, calls her latest book a coming-of-age story and says it took her a year to complete. “Everybody has their favourite what-I-did-over-the-school-holidays story, and I wanted to write one for modern teens that still resonates as 100% South African.” 

The story follows Naomi, a 16-year-old from Cape Town, who experiences a new way of life during a holiday in Jeffreys Bay, where she also finds love and goes through a journey of self-discovery. 

Partridge set her story in the seaside town because she’s done several road trips to the area. “I first travelled to Jeffreys Bay in 2018, and it became the first of several road trips to the holiday spot over the following two years. I completely fell in love with the town, with its gorgeous shell beaches and easy-going atmosphere. I knew right away that I wanted to set a novel there, and I also knew right away that it would be a love story, because Jeffreys Bay forms part of my own love story.” 

Partridge has also contributed to several local and international short stories and school setwork collections. “My books all fall into the young-adult category, in other words, anyone under 18. It is my favourite genre because I feel like there are so many daring, imaginative and wonderful international titles out there, and I feel very privileged to be able to contribute to the local youth literature scene. My previous books have been quite edgy, and, to be honest, even my love stories have an edge of darkness to them. I love writing gritty, thrilling stories that keep readers turning the page.” 

She is already working on her next book, also set in the Eastern Cape, and is hoping to add to her long list of literary awards. She won a South African Literary Award last year for her novel, Mine, as well as her fourth Media24 Books Literary Award. Her work has also been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story prize, the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature, the International Board of Books for young People (IBBY) Honour List, and the Percy Fitzpatrick Prize. In 2011, she was named one of 200 Young South Africans in the Literature/Arts category.