Young Adult Fiction

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 – subsequently informs how his life is played out.

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Thuy On reviews 'All I Ever Wanted' by Vikki Wakefield

Thuy On
Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Sixteen-year-old Jemima (Mim) Dodd lives in a dilapidated house on the edge of suburbia, with an overweight, couch-loving mother. Mim’s two elder half-brothers are in remand for drug-related offences, and she is struggling not to be sucked into her neighbourhood’s vortex of sex, crime, and violence. Mim seems to be a victim both of her hostile social environment and her dysfunctional family ...

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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To make Ernest Giles’s trek across the scrub and desert of southern Australia interesting to younger readers, relate it through the eyes of a young protagonist. It was an inspired choice to invent Taj, twelve-year-old son of the historical figure Saleh Mohamed, Afghan cameleer, and an equally inspired choice to invent Taj’s beloved young camel, Mustara. The love and respect between camel an ...

Bec Kavanagh reviews 'Pig Boy' by J.C. Burke

Bec Kavanagh
Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Damon Styles keeps a list of those who have crossed him. In a small, bully-rich town like Strathven, there are a lot of them. Damon has a plan, though, and getting his gun licence is only part of it. Next he needs to get a job with the Pigman. Nobody really knows the latter. He is foreign, shoots pigs, and keeps to himself, which is quite enough to fuel rumours in Strathven. Damon knows that th ...

In the Young Adult novel Slice: Juicy Moments from My Impossible Life, you will meet Darcy Pele Franz Walker, a boy named after famous international footballers, but one who has no interest in the game... ... (read more)

Peta Murray reviews 'Girl Saves Boy' by Steph Bowe

Peta Murray
Wednesday, 08 June 2011

Jewel Valentine saves Sacha Thomas when she pulls him, unconscious, from a lake. Girl resuscitates boy, and, for better or worse, their fates are sealed. Jewel and Sacha’s voices intertwine throughout this beguiling début novel from Steph Bowe. Written when she was just thirteen, Bowe takes the teen romance genre and gives it an edge. Here is a journey to first love between an enigmatic girl ...

Margot McGovern reviews 'Thyla' by Kate Gordon

Margot McGovern
Friday, 20 May 2011

When Tessa wakes up in hospital, she has no idea who she is or how she came to be there. The only clues are the ‘long, thin, striping slashes’ scarring her back. With no way of knowing who or where her family is, Tessa is sent to Cascade Falls College, an exclusive girls’ boarding school on the outskirts of Hobart. She befriends the ‘untouchables’, a group of quirky scholarship studen ...

Jackie French, a prolific author, is best known for her children’s books, with variations on historical themes clearly something of a specialty. A Waltz for Matilda, which seems to be aimed at a broader market, builds on the premise that the Jolly Swagman of Banjo Paterson’s song is not alone. His twelve-year-old daughter, Matilda, is with him and witne ...

Pam Macintyre reviews 'Good Oil' by Laura Buzo

Pam Macintyre
Wednesday, 04 May 2011

There is much to like in this début Young Adult novel: its straightforward storytelling, distinctive central characters, well-tuned adolescent dialogue, and humorous depiction of first love...

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