And my award for the most awesome male character in YA goes to… Bo Mitchell!!
Seriously. From the very first sentence of ‘White Night’ by Ellie Marney, Bo’s voice captured me. He drives this book. If you’re looking for positive, realistic male role models, look no further.
I loved ‘White Night’. I read a sneak-peak online and then had to wait – yes – WAIT – until it became available from my library. Excruciating.
There are a lot of things to like in ‘White Night’, but if I had to pick three, this’d be them:
- Character arcs of awesome
- Level-headed enviro representation
- General air of stereotype-smashing.
If you’re looking for spooky and surprising and generous and sweet, then I solemnly swear you should pick up ‘Yellow’ by Megan Jacobson.
Because it’s all of these things.
Dead dude on the end of a phone. Suspense and suspects and twists. And a seriously awesome friendship. A girl who learns how to be happy. And CBCA Shortlisted too, judging by the sticker on my library edition 🙂
I think the book works so well because of how much is happening in it, everything intertwined. (Beware the occasional weeny eeny spoiler as you read on…) I work on the belief that every book needs a central idea that is DROP-DEAD GREAT.
And then, like, three more FAB ideas added to it in order to make it IMMENSELY AWESOME.
Publishable. Continue reading
I’ve been writing and editing these last few months, but now I’ve freed up some time to cover some of the awesome reads I’ve enjoyed recently.
Let’s start with ‘A Semi-definitive List of Worst Nightmares’ by Krystal Sutherland, which has such a fab cover and takes out my personal award for one of the best titles EVER, as well as picking up a CBCA Notables sticker.
This is clever writing, FUNNY writing – I absolutely devour books with humour! I love laughing to myself in the middle of the night. I love finishing a book and feeling empowered and happy and like I want to read the whole thing again.
Ok, people. Hands up who totally loves The Illuminae Files?
<Earth shudders on its axis as billions of hands are raised>
It’s no secret I really dig this series. I love the way it’s written. I love the way you have to work to read it. I love the way it makes you question good and bad and ethics and whether we all should have a murderous AI watching our backs.
I jumped at the opportunity to read ‘Obsidio’ by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff as soon as it turned up shiny (literally) bright and new at my library.
I was not disappointed 🙂
Questions are answered. Body counts are added to. There are laughs. There is panic.
There is AIDAN…
Right. So, what are a few aspects I loved?
- That dash of you-can-do-this-too
- The distinct VOICES
Man, I had fun with this series! I wanted to read ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ by Sarah J. Maas because firstly I love her writing, but mainly because I was intrigued as to how a series with a blatant love triangle could garner such positive reviews of said triangle… a love triangle is like a death knell to most books.
So how did this one not only keep readers happy, but have them cheering for the new guy?
I had to read ACOTAR and find out.
I didn’t expect to then have to read the next one. And the one after that.
I didn’t expect to not just enjoy the series, but to be impressed with the messages it was sending.
I want to talk about two things here.
- How Maas sets the scene at the start of ACOTAR
- How the love triangle totally redeemed itself in my eyes.
I loved this spooky, quirky, thoughtful book! ‘Carousel’ by Brendan Ritchie has been on my TBR list for simply ages (please don’t ask me how long my very-long-list is!) so I jumped at the opportunity to grab it from my library.
Firstly, because it’s set in my closest too-enormous shopping centre, one of my least favourite places to be. Imagine being stuck in there <comical grimace>. I was intrigued how the book would play out.
Secondly, and most superly importantly, I wanted to read it because of a dream I used to have when I was a kid. All. The. Time. I was the only one locked up in a shop after hours. And it used to start out as such an awesome dream, with me finding all the lollies. Until it would always, without fail, turn spooky. Something else would be in there with me.
Cue the ‘Carousel’ toilet gnomes, people. When I read about them, I came to the realisation I might never ever shop at Carousel again… 🙂 Seriously, if I could choose ANYTHING to try and make huge empty toilet blocks less scary, it would not be garden gnomes with their little faces watching out of the shadows… <shudder> Continue reading
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…
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.
What’s more awesome than your kid not wanting to go to sleep because they’re reading a great book?
Having them wake up the next morning and keep reading! And almost be late for school because they love the book so much! And then talk about it all the way to school!
‘Olivia’s Secret Scribbles: My New Best Friend’ by Meredith Costain and Danielle McDonald is the first “big kid” book my daughter read by herself, cover to cover. In less than 24 hours, too.
That’s not reading, people, that’s devouring.
So, what was so inviting in this book?
- Easy to read font with lots of enticing illustrations
- A couple of mysteries to solve
- Some hidden lessons
I didn’t hear the characteristic rattle of the loose roof iron above the kitchen, heralding a change in the wind. Hot easterly turning to a south-westerly that on a normal day would promise a drop in temperature. My brain didn’t register the growing smell of smoke, creeping up like an intruder.
The shrill clamour of the smoke alarm finally halted my study halfway through working out the molar weight of an unknown substance in question 34a. Fear buzzed as chemistry fled my brain. I made it halfway to silence the alarm before the power went out, plunging me into a dark that was simply too dark for the time of day it was. Continue reading
I used to work up in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Red dirt, indomitable spinifex and awe-inspiring mountain ranges.
I’m miffed that I never got to experience a cyclone, though. (‘You don’t want to,’ said everyone who ever had.) Still, I would’ve loved to really feel WHY. The wind and the pressure and the bunkering down…
Now, thanks to modern storytelling, I’m halfway there :). ‘Cyclones and Shadows’ is a collection of four fab stories all based around the north of Australia, including one in a cyclone.
I’m in love with them all. I’d love a Shadow of my very own!
And his mango tree too, please!
What made me grin reading this book?
These stories, by Laura Dudgeon, Pat Dudgeon, Sabrina Dudgeon-Swift and Darlene Oxenham, are full of humour, empathy, insight and adventure. There are strong female main characters, zero gender stereotypes (when was the last time you read about a girl fixing up a car in Junior Fiction? Yeah, I thought so…), and vibrant themes of family and friendship. Continue reading