Young Adult Fiction

Pam Macintyre reviews 'Preloved' by Shirley Marr, 'Night Beach' by Kirsty Eagar and 'The Messenger Bird' by Rosanne Hawke

Pam Macintyre
04 July 2012

Adolescent girls aged sixteen to seventeen are at the centre of these three Young Adult novels: girls whose heightened emotional states prompt supernatural events. Broken families, disconnection from parents, obsession, music, art, and death impel the protagonists to seek solace and healing in the metaphysical. For Shirley Marr (Black Dog Books, $18.95 pb, 272 pp, 9781742031903), it is the Chin ... More

Bec Kavanagh reviews 'The Shiny Guys' by Doug MacLeod

Bec Kavanagh
04 July 2012

The Shiny Guys, quite a departure from Doug MacLeod’s usually quite light-hearted work, is nonetheless a real success. This foray into the world of mental illness and treatment calls to mind, and even refers directly to, complex works such as The Castle and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.A book about fear, uncertainty, and suffering, it is rich in complexities bu ... More

Laura Elvery reviews 'The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket' by John Boyne

Laura Elvery
04 July 2012

A midnight birth on a Friday is the first suggestion that Barnaby Brocket is not an ordinary arrival. Seconds later, baby Barnaby slips through the doctor’s hands and floats towards the ceiling. For his parents, Eleanor and Alistair, life until this point has been satisfyingly normal, with ‘no time for people who were unusual or who made a show of themselves in public’. Barnaby’s airbor ... More

Ruth Starke reviews 'The Children of the King' by Sonya Hartnett, 'The Tunnels of Tarcoola' by Jennifer Walsh, 'Red' by Libby Gleeson: 'Mystery at Riddle Gully' and Jen Banyard

Ruth Starke
22 May 2012

Cecily Lockwood’s heart ‘bounced like a trout’. An arresting simile on the first page of a novel is always a good sign, but will this piscatorial comparison mean anything to young readers? No matter, back to those footsteps climbing the dark stairs to twelve-year-old Cecily’s room, where she is quailing under the bed. She pictures her older brother Jeremy in the next room, his ... More

Kate Eltham reviews 'Grimson' by Deborah Abela and 'Quillblade' by Ben Chandler

Kate Eltham
23 December 2011

Twelve-year-old Isabella and her best friend, Griffin, have been keeping themselves and three younger children alive in Grimsdon since a massive wave flooded the city three years agoMore

Gillian Dooley reviews 'The Coming of the Whirlpool' by Andrew McGahan

Gillian Dooley
24 November 2011

Any novel by Andrew McGahan is likely to be a surprise, if you know his previous work, but if you were to approach this book knowing nothing about the author, there would be little about it to disturb your expectations. The cover, with its heraldic design against a marine backdrop, immediately signals its genre, and the maps on the endpapers, showing McGahan’s imagined geography of a place ca ... More

Stephen Mansfield reviews 'Alaska' by Sue Saliba and 'Clara in Washington' by Penny Tangey

Stephen Mansfield
24 November 2011

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 imagin ... More

Romy Ash reviews 'Cargo' by Jessica Au

Romy Ash
25 October 2011

Jessica Au’s first novel, Cargo, is an arresting look at what it means to be young.

Au moves her story beyond the category of Young Adult fiction by not simply showing youth, but also interrogating it. Her characters are unsure of their new, almost adult selves. Readers will feel pity and compassion for these characters on the cusp.

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Bec Kavanagh reviews 'A Pocketful of Eyes' by Lili Wilkinson

Bec Kavanagh
21 October 2011

Beatrice May Ross (Bee) is a list-maker, an amateur detective, a taxidermy assistant, and a regular teenage girl. She falls in love, fights with her best friend, and hates her mother’s new boyfriend, like plenty of adolescents. But she does so while stitching together a dead koala and trying to solve the ever-developing mystery surrounding the death of her mentor.

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Thuy On reviews 'Big River Little Fish' by Belinda Jeffrey

Thuy On
07 October 2011

The birth of Tom Downs on the banks of the Murray River in South Australia tragically coincided with the death of his mother. His premature arrival – in the breech position – subsequen More

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