My last library visit I had an aim – grab three CBCA Notables YA books.
And then read them. (Of course.)
At home, I mean. Not the library. (Of course.)
Not only did I manage that with flying colours, I also managed to find a Scribblers Fest feather in one! Not the gold… but still… I felt like I’d just opened a Wonka bar and found a golden ticket!
Here is my quick take on the three books. Beware spoilers, people…
‘A Shadow’s Breath’ by Nicole Hayes
Suspense. What went wrong? How did they get there? Will they survive?
I loved the structure of this book, very cleverly interweaving now and then to ensure we only discover what we need to, when we need to. And then, when we think we know what the bad thing is that she saw, that’s when the real bad thing that she doesn’t want to remember comes out.
I really loved the Australian setting. The heat, the fire, then the rain. Some readers, unfamiliar with an Aussie summer, might think Hayes went over the top with the changeable weather. But I could smell the heat and feel the brooding clouds of a summer thunderstorm. Super.
‘Ballad for a Mad Girl’ by Vikki Wakefield
Talk about the terrifying descent into madness, that maybe isn’t madness but how will anyone possibly believe her? Aaah! This book had me. It was a very late night because I Just Had To Know…
I was totally there for the MC, Grace, wishing with my whole heart that she didn’t have to have everyone believe she was losing it.
And I was totally sucked in by the twist.
Even though it was hinted at so beautifully (the toilet seat! the back shed!) I still slapped my forehead when I read it.
Clever, absorbing, that little bit scary…
‘The Ones That Disappeared’ by Zana Fraillon
This lyrical book is wrapped up with the gorgeous promise of magic realism, set against the horrifying truth of child slavery.
It’s not always pleasant to read. I’m sure it’s not meant to be. I wanted to lose myself in the story, but always there was that understanding at the back of my mind that the real kids don’t have a mud man to help them.
The first time the magic cropped up, I didn’t know whether I could trust it. Once I realised the magic was real within the story, then I really became enveloped by this book. The characters are beautifully written. It is a powerful novel that left me feeling both happy and uncomfortable.
So, there you go, my CBCA binge is over. Now I’m on a bit of a dystopian / fantasy reading rampage 🙂