The Beginner’s Guide to Living


(Australian/NZ edition. See other editions below)


Shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2009

Shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards 2009

Shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier’s Literary Awards 2009

Shortlisted for the NZ Post Book Awards 2010

Longlisted for the Golden Inky Award 2009


Seventeen-year-old Will is in turmoil after the sudden death of his mother. His father drifts and his older brother, Adam, stays away from home. Isolated and angry, Will begins a search for the answers he craves. He uses his mum’s old camera to document the experience and scrambles to find an idea for which he can live and die. And as if things weren’t complicated enough, he falls for sixteen-year-old Taryn. His final exams are looming, but how will he get through the tangle of grief and philosophy, sex and love?

The Beginner’s Guide to Living is a book about grief, ideas and experience, about those moments in your life that change you forever.


Reviews of The Beginner’s Guide to Living:

‘…acutely insightful…Although this novel begins with a death, it is a celebration of life, companionship, and love.’ Publishers Weekly (starred review)

‘Hills’s rich imagery and masterful storytelling come together to create a tale that is both poetic and compelling.’ Kirkus (starred review)

‘…this impressive debut…transcends its demographic restrictions entirely – even well balanced adults should swallow their pride and take a look.’ – Dominion Post (NZ)

‘beautifully crafted…a truly engaging read.’ – The Age‘

‘Hills endows her character with a poetic sensibility.’ – Australian Book Review


US/Canada edition (Farrar, Straus & Giroux):

FSG cover 2     FSG back cover

German editions, also available in Austria and Switzerland:



script 5 cover         second german edition

Teacher’s handbook in German:



teachers handbook german

Swedish edition (X Publishing):

swedish edition

Greek edition:



Greek edition