Maya Linden

Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth & The Minnow by Diana Sweeney

September 2014, no. 364

At its greatest, literature offers us the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of someone else; at its most inviting, through a character whose experience could be our own; at its most powerful, through a view of existence that differs vastly, even frighteningly, from ours. The latter is explored in these two new works of Young Adult fiction that show us in ...

The One and Only Jack Chant by Rosie Borella & The Haunting of Lily Frost by

May 2014, no. 361

In Negotiating with the Dead (2002), Margaret Atwood proposes that all writing ‘is motivated, deep down, by a fear of, and fascination with, mortality – by a desire to make the risky trip to the Underworld, and to bring something or someone back from the dead’. Certainly writers often use their craft both to preserve the memory of times, places, and peo ...

Authentically owning a character’s experience is one of the great challenges faced by fiction writers, especially when it is something as intensely felt as living with terminal illness. It is testimony to A.J. Betts’s talent that she does so in Zac & Mia without lapsing into melodrama, rather, maintaining a voice that is youthful, contemporary, ...

It’s the early 1980s in Melbourne. Shelley, aged fourteen, is obsessed with football. Discussions of the game are the one point of mutual interest that allows communication between Shelley and her father in the aftermath of the death of her mother.


Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman

March 2013, no. 349

Alyssa Brugman’s Alex as Well makes us question why we read. Is it something we do to escape reality, or are we drawn to other realms that may contain deeply unsettling experiences very different from our own?


Creepy & Maud by Dianne Touchell

October 2012, no. 345

From the first sentence of Creepy & Maud, we know we are entering a volatile world. ‘My dad has trained our dog, Dobie Squires, to bite my mum,’ Creepy tells us. What follows is a vivid peek into suburban isolation and unease. Almost every character has an addiction or psychological disturbance, from alcoholism and untameable aggression to dyslexia an ...

Sea Hearts  by Margo Lanagan

May 2012, no. 341

Sea Hearts takes place in an intensely wrought setting, both unnerving and thrilling – in propinquity to our world, yet enchantingly different. We journey, with a series of intriguing characters, through brutal landscapes where the wind is ‘swiping like a cat’s paw at a mousehole’.


Darkwater by Georgia Blain & This is Shyness by Leanne Hall

April 2011, no. 330

Darkness, both literal and symbolic, pervadesthese two recent books. Darkwater, the first Young Adult title by established writer Georgia Blain...

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