It’s Tuesday again! I seem to be doing a pretty good job of participating in Top Ten Tuesday every other week lately, for no apparent reason. BUT this week is a freebie, so how could I resist? This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (which is, as always hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) happens to coincide with Australia Day, so I thought it would be an excellent chance for me to talk about my favourite Aussie YA novels. I tried making a list of them back in October elsewhere on the interwebs, but I’ve been lucky enough to read some awesome local reads in the months since, so narrowing down to a top
ten fifteen* will be no mean feat.
In no particular order…
Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil
Life in Outer Space is my go-to happy novel. It’s charming, funny and has a whole lot of heart, and always makes me feel better. It’s delightfully geeky and protagonist Sam is a gorgeous narrator. Melissa Keil’s other novel, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is also rather wonderful.
Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near
This is one of those novels that really surprised me when I first read it. Kooky, dark and also rather beautiful, Fairytales for Wilde Girls is a very unique take on fantasy. It has a cast of memorable, endearing characters, and the illustrations are just to die for, see below:
The Reluctant Hallelujah by Gabrielle Williams
This one’s a more recent discovery for me than the previous two, even though it’s been out longer. It had a sense of humour that really appealed to me, and was different in a really refreshing, though totally bizarre, way. It was a lot of fun, but was still quite insightful and touching.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Do I really need to say anything about The Book Thief? Beautiful, heartbreaking, ambitious, conscious, it manages to explore both the best and the worst of humanity. It’s one of my favourite books, and the novel that introduced me to Markus Zusak’s truly stunning writing.
Run by Tim Sinclair
This one seems to go under the radar a little bit. Written in verse (which is such a great way to tell a story, if you haven’t read any verse novels, which i hadn’t before Run), it was one of my favourite reads of 2014. Didn’t quite make me want to take up parkour as a hobby, but it was a fantastic read. It’d be one of my top recommendations for anyone who’s wanting a bit of a different reading experience.
Girl Defective by Simmone Howell
I wasn’t really all that much of a fan of Girl Defective the first time I read it. I did like it enough to reread it though, and I’ve fallen more and more in love with it each time I’ve picked it up. St Kilda really springs to life in this novel, which has one of the most palpable senses of place I’ve read. A quintessential coming-of-age novel, with a dash of music.
Every Word by Ellie Marney
Sherlock Holmes adaptations have pretty much been the rage over the last few years, but Ellie Marney’s Every series definitely a standout. More of an homage than a true adaptation (Arthur Conan Doyle is even mentioned at one point), these books are action-packed, well-written and tense. I’m yet to read book three of the trilogy, but so far Every Word is my favourite. The characters are very well-developed, and the relationship between Rachel and Mycroft is quite phenomenal.
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Graffiti Moon seems to be one of the more widely beloved Aussie YA novels, and I can see why. It ticks all the boxes, and I enjoyed it so, so much.
Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this novel. It’s the only novel I’ve ever loved but have been simply unable to reread because of one particularly harrowing twist. Which I suppose says a lot about Vikki Wakefield’s amazing writing. Full of complex, compelling characters, Friday Brown is one of the most unforgettable novels I’ve ever read, and has stayed with me for a long time.
The First Third by Will Kostakis
This book made me laugh at one stage, cry at another, and do both at yet another. A really good book about family, and friendship. It’s fun and also heartfelt, and has some really excellent, infuriating and loveable characters. A pretty short read, but a lot’s said in this story. Full of some really wonderful moments, The First Third book is delightful.
Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak
This book’s a very different kettle of fish to The Book Thief, so it’s difficult to compare them. Which means that I can love both fairly equally. It feels very Australian, this one, and features one of my favourite narrators in Cameron Wolfe. Full of humour and heart,this book has a very special place in my heart.
All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield
Not sure what to say for this one, except that I’d read anything if it had Vikki Wakefield’s name on the cover. Evocative is a good word to explain this one, I think.
Cry Blue Murder by Kim Kane and Marion Roberts
Written entirely in emails and police documents, Cry Blue Murder is a quietly creepy novel centred around two girls’ reactions to the kidnapping of a local school girl. This one hit scarily close to home for me because I know the area it’s set in pretty well. It’s a clever crime novel with some devious foreshadowing.
Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson
Fun, full of well-developed characters and environmentally-conscious, Green Valentine is super enjoyable, and had everything I needed in a light-hearted, though still thoughtful, contemporary novel.
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolfe by Ambelin Kwaymullina
An ingenious blend of dystopia and fantasy, The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is the kind of book that takes your expectations and completely blows them out of the water. The world building is very impressive, and it features some brilliant female friendships between Ashala, Ember and Georgie, which I can’t wait to see more of in the second and third novels (which, by the way, I’m kicking myself for not buying when they were released). Even if you absolutely despise dystopian YA, Ambelin Kwaymullina’s take on the genre is unique and refreshing.
What are some of your favourite Australian novels? Have you read any that feature on this list, and if so what did you think of them? Any thoughts on the importance of supporting local writers? Let me know, and feel free to link to your own TTTs. I’m interested to see what you all chose to write about this week!
*During the process of making a list of ten books for this post, I quickly realised that there was no way I could possibly make this a list of only ten. So today you’re getting fifteen books
whether you like it or not for the price of ten!