Stephen Mansfield

The greatest hurts you can endure or inflict on another are often in connection with siblings. The expectation of intimacy and potential for damage is obviously amplified when dealing with twins. As the father of two-year-old twin boys, I read this book with some trepidation.

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Alaska by Sue Saliba & Clara in Washington by Penny Tangey

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December 2011–January 2012, no. 337

Since the publication of Frank Moorhouse’s The Americans, Baby (1972), Australian literature has maintained a tense awareness of its powerful neighbour’s cultural sway over younger generations. Even the ‘Oz as’ Young Adult titles (think of Tim Winton’s Lockie Leonard series) concede, by studious omission, the impact of American cultural hegemony on the teenage imagination in Australia.

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The Dead I Know  by Scot Gardner & The Comet Box by Adrian Stirling

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September 2011, no. 334

The way nostalgia works, according to theorists, is that we pine for the era just before our own. This may be why the twenty-something musicians of today mine the sounds of the 1980s. But does this pattern succeed in Young Adult fiction? What does an author gain by setting his or her story in the ‘nostalgia zone’ of potential readers?

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Noah's Law by Randa Abdel-Fattah

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February 2011, no. 328
The teen detective novel is a rare breed in this post-Famous Five era, now that the catch-cry of popular Young Adult fiction is the familiar and the relatable ... ... (read more)

While explorations of Australia at war have never been short on ‘male stories’, the prevalence of the masculine frame may yet increase in coming years as part of the ongoing examination of competing forms of manhood in this country, as evidenced by the upcoming symposium ‘Embattled Men: Masculinity and War’ at the Australian National University. The publicit ...

The first book I ever properly owned – pored over, slept with, inscribed – was an elaborately illustrated hardback copy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. One can imagine the producers of the attractively packaged Tollins: Explosive Tales for Children hoping it might assume similar significance for a contemporary seven-year-old boy. Conn Iggulden’s secret and quirky world of the Tollins involves old, greybearded men, intricate maps and plenty of adventures and derring-do by the book’s unlikely hero, Sparkler.

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