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  • Over This Backbone
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Over This Backbone

Ya Reeves

I shake my head—it’s only day one.

That wind is hot. I can feel the salt drying and gluing my eyebrows and lashes and gripping to the fine hairs on my cheeks. Shoulders, already knotted, ache. Blisters bubble their way to the surface, and I know I should have stopped for them but I’m single-minded to the point of recklessness in wanting to keep moving. Feet are too broad for the boots, anyway. Pack is too heavy, but I’d never breathe a word of it because that’d prove them right and I’m too young to be wrong.

Peta has a plan that she is determined to follow – a timeline, things to prove—but nothing is as expected. She is ghosted by wild dogs, almost trampled by horses, hunted down by the police, dehydrated and flooded-in; but none of this compares to the rollercoaster that is her relationship of the past year. 

Shifting between Peta’s journey across the Australian Alps Walking Track and her past, we learn about Peta and Ben's tumultuous connection, her attempts to extract herself, and her subsequent experiences in the South Australian desert that both liberated and shattered her.

Over This Backbone is about the things we try to bury—about when 'I'm fine' means the opposite, when battling alone doesn't equate to strength. It is about the Australian landscape and the way it seeps into our bones, the way it rattles and calms us. It is about walking a long way, and walking away.

About the Author

Ya Reeves is a freelance outdoor and environmental educator from Far East Gippsland. Following in her parents footsteps, she studied a bachelor of outdoor education with honours and has worked in wild and beautiful places across Australia. She divides her time between sharing the bush with tertiary and high school students, running, painting, skiing, surfing, mount bike riding, climbing, fly fishing, hiking, playing music and writing. Over This Backbone is her first novel. She currently resides in North East Victoria, at the base of Mount Bogong, with a beautiful community of friends and a lot of plants.


‘an impressive debut that takes readers on a physical and mental journey, shoulder-to-shoulder with this lovable protagonist. It explores the human experience, the Australian landscape, and where these two fascinating enigmas intercede. Ya Reeves is a charming new literary voice.’Sydney Morning Herald

‘The beauty of the descriptive prose stands out, in what is ultimately a story of resilience and transformation.The Age

‘we hang on her every vivid word’NT News




Pub Date
May 2023




Resilience. Identity. Adventure.