Life, Death and Detention

Life, Death and Detention is a collection of compelling stories about life in high school. Being a teenager can be fraught with difficulties. Not only do you have to deal with dysfunctional families at home, but with the weirdos at school as well.

Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes disturbing—that’s what life is like for the modern teenager.

This is a young adult short story collection about life in high school. It’s a rather varied collection with both serious and humorous stories, all revolving around school life.

After many years being out of print, Life, Death and Detention is back!

A new edition was released in July 2012 by Morris Publishing Australia (distributed in Australia by Dennis Jones and Associates) and launched by Alison Goodman at Mentone Grammar on 13 August. The stories have all been updated into the 21st Century and each story is now followed by an Afterword with a little background about how the story was written.

ISBN: 978-0-9872444-9-9


  • Life Death and Detention
  • Beam Me Up
  • Remember Me
  • On the Edge of a Knife
  • Sugar
  • Love Letters
  • All Hail the Trophy
  • He Played Unforgettable
  • Ghosts
  • The Writing’s On The Wall

Life, Death and Detention has been on the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge booklist for Year 7 & 8 students since its inception in 2005.

Buy the new edition online from Boomerang Books, Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Or get the eBook is a variety of formats from Smashwords.

Original Edition

Life, Death and Detention was originally published by Margaret Hamilton Publishing (an imprint of Scholastic) in 1999.
ISBN: 1-876289-25-2

A copy of the original edition of Life, Death and Detention was on display in the Baillieu Library at the University of Melbourne in early 2009 as part of the Baillieu 50th Anniversary Exhibition. Also on display were some of my original notes about graffiti found on the desks in the Baillieu. These notes were made in the 1980s. Years later, they were the inspiration for the story “The Writing’s On The Wall” which was published in Life, Death and Detention. Related to this is a short personal reminiscence about the Baillieu Library, which has been published on the Baillieu 50th Anniversary Memory Board website. Titled “The Baillieu, friendship, and graffiti“, it includes some information about “The Writing’s On The Wall”.


Although originally published in 1999, these tales still hit hot spots for today’s teenagers. … I believe young adults of all ages will find these stories topical.

Susan Whelan, Kids’ Book Review, 21 July 2013

Confronting, powerful, poignant, and at times shocking, it contains ten stories about school life and all the terrors faced by youth during those educational years…
This is an impressive collection of stories, highly recommended…

Anastasia Gonis, Buzz Words Books, 17 September 2012

Dramatic, emphatic and explosive – the only words available to describe this collection of short stories.  George Ivanoff not only has the insight to get into the heads of teenagers and know their every move and thought, but his writing style is short, clear and penetrating.  The profound themes in this collection are, at times, the frightening reality of the lives of teenagers as they cope with stress, depression, loneliness and love.   The unexpected twist thrown in at the end of each of these stories places this collection in the “must read” category

Bev’s Book Blog, 26 March 2011

The stories “…are bound to shock the reader, or bring cause for reflection, or leave him or her uncomfortable. They are stories to make their young readers think, to learn and to grow.”

Reading Time Vol.44 No.3, Australian Children’s Book Council.

This corpus makes for a gripping read, even if an occasionally disturbing one, as Australian teens grapple with a myriad of school weirdoes on top of family dysfunctions. “He Played Unforgettable” is a tale of internalised homophobia. The unnamed hero is teamed up for a school project with Wayne, leader of the school’s band of bullies. When working together on their shared task, Wayne turns out to be a classical, music-loving, New Age type of guy who initiates a mutual gratifying kiss between the two. Later, when observed thus by his “gang”, Wayne leads the homophobic beating of his former “friend”.

The male closet in many a classroom, William E. Elderton — an annotated list of teenage fiction on the issues of being gay.