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On Tuesday evening YA enthusiasts crowded into the State Library of Victoria to find out what titles Australian publishers are celebrating from 2012, and looking forward to in 2013…
H.I.V.E. by Mark Walden (June 2012)
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas (August 2012)
Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black (February 2013)
Hidden by Marianne Curley* (March 2013)
Ford Street Publishing
Riggs Crossing by Michelle Heeter* (September 2012)
Greylands by Isobelle Carmody* (October 2012)
Gamers’ Rebellion by George Ivanoff* (July 2013)
Far From Gallipoli by Pamela Rushby* (October 2013)
A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty* (October 2012)
Girl Defective by Simmone Howell* (March 2013)
Wildlife by Fiona Wood* (June 2013)
The Howling Boy by Cath Crowley* (September 2013)
Allen & Unwin
Unforgotten by Tohby Riddle* (September 2012)
Into That Forest by Louis Nowra* (September 2012)
When We Wake by Karen Healey (February 2013)
Interchange by Margaret Wild* (2013)
The Horses Didn’t Come Home by Pamela Rushby* (March 2012)
Pennies for Hitler by Jackie French* (June 2012)
Refuge by Jackie French* (August 2013)
The Big Dry by Tony Davis* (September 2013)
Love Notes from Vinegar House by Karen Tayleur* (May 2012)
Black Spring by Alison Croggon* (October 2012)
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis (March 2013)
Stagefright by Carole Wilkinson* (March 2013)
Ned Kelly’s Secret by Sophie Masson* (July 2012)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (October 2012)
Joyous & Moonbeam by Richard Yaxley*(September 2013)
Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce (October 2013)
The Farm by Emily McKay (November 2012)
Things A Map Won’t Show You edited by Susan La Marca & Pam Macintyre* (February 2012)
The First Third by William Kostakis* (May 2013)
Run by Tim Sinclair (April 2013)
Hardie Grant Egmont
This Is Not A Drill by Bec McDowell (November 2012)
All The Wrong Questions by Lemony Snicket (October 2012)
Life In Outer Space by Melissa Keil* (February 2013)
The Phoenix Files: Doomsday by Chris Morphew* (June 2013)
Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield* (September 2012)
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead (September 2012)
Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman* (February 2013)
Julius and the Watchmaker by Tim Hehir* (May 2013)
The Shadow Girl by John Larkin*(2012)
Brave Heart by Brett & Hayley Kirk* (August 2012)
Steal My Sunshine by Emily Gale* (May 2013)
The Whole of My World by Nicole Hayes* (June 2013)
Which 2012 titles have you already read? And which 2013 titles have piqued your curiosity? Personally, I’m having trouble deciding between Stephan Pastis’ (aka the genius behind Pearls Before Swine) Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, Tim Sinclair’s Run, and new books from Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell, Fiona Wood, and Tamora Pierce. Bring on 2013!
* denotes an Australian author.
Note: The publishers listed were those that accepted our invitation. They were asked to only present on four books – two from 2012, two to be launched in 2013.
While Adele was regaling us with stories from her American visit, I was intrigued by one of the talks she went to titled ‘Literary Friendships’. I was struck anew by the regard authors hold for other authors. The following is a list of books that are interconnected in different ways.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen and Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Speak is one of those novels that really sticks with the reader – and authors are readers too. Some Girls Are pays homage to Speak, and the scene where Miranda is sexually assaulted, by mirroring it in the first scene of the book. That scene is used as the spark for the rest of the plot. Just Listen has a similar sexual assault scene at a party. Much more muted than Speak and Some Girls Are, it still manages to retain Speak’s message and tone.
I think it speaks to how moving and essential Speak (especially that scene) is. It’s been brought back to life in all of these literary variations. I’m so glad the message is still being talked about and that each of the above titles offers a slightly different tone and reaction by the characters. It’s also interesting to see the many variations of the social fallout from such an attack. In Some Girls Are the sexual assault against the main character is used as a platform to begin an extreme and escalating bullying campaign.
Tithe Series by Holly Black and The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare
These two literary friends cheekily wrote in scenes containing characters from the others’ work. The band Clary listens to ‘Stepping Razor’ appears in Tithe as a secondary character’s (Ellen) band. Clary and Jace also meet the Unseelie Queen, while Kaylee in Tithe catches glimpses of Jace and Clary throughout the series.
Sarah Dessen often has previous main characters make cameos in her later books, due to her setting. Dessen has her stories centered in the fictional town of Lakeview, and her characters will often vacation in Colby. They aren’t always known to our main protagonist of the moment, so sometimes it’s just a description or the way the character thinks and you are left with an ‘I know that voice’ feeling.
Melina tricks me every time. Don’t get me wrong, I knew The Piper’s Son was a companion to Saving Francesca, but did you know that Ben (the violinist) from Jellicoe features in Piper’s? (He is Justine’s crush). One of the mullet brothers ends up dating the kitchen hand who Tom works with at the pub. Jonah’s little brother, Danny (Jellicoe), is the protagonist of The Gorgon In The Gully.
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With a tagline like ‘celebrating the freedom to read’ is it no wonder bannedbooksweek.org is a favourite?
For thirty years banned book week been reporting on book censorship in America.
Hundreds of books have been either removed or challenged in schools and libraries in the United States every year. According to the American Library Association (ALA), there were at least 326 in 2011. ALA estimates that 70 to 80 percent are never reported.
In 2011, the 10 most challenged books were:
ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
ttyl is a constant stream of IM chat, email and texts between three friends ‘SnowAngel’, ‘zoegirl’ and ‘madmaddie’. It’s a little of a shock to read as the language is expressed in a short hand that seems impossible, yet is a reflection of how teens are interacting online, and the topics discussed break the barriers of ‘polite’ conversation.
The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
A graphic novel that explores a daughter’s relationship with her mother, and the social ramifications of being a ‘single’ mother in Korea. The minimal nudity and implied sexual acts pales in comparison to the lyric-like qualities in the writing and the strength of the mother-daughter relationship.
The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
A very popular series that has encouraged many ‘non-readers’ to open up it’s pages and delve into a world of action, adventure and romance. I find it interesting that in it’s ‘book’ format, The Hunger Games finds itself on the 10 most challenged book lists. In ‘movie’ format, it finds itself the number one box hit of 2012. This implies to me that there are two standards when a story is told. When in a movie format, the level of ‘violence’ is more readily accepted then in a book format.
My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
A children’s picture book that describes the experiences of Elizabeth, a soon to be older sibling as her mother goes through pregnancy. There is language about the human body, reproduction and child development. Some of the language, such as sperm, has caused parents to ask for the book to be banned from their libraries.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
Alexie chose to respond in the Wall Street Journal, in 2011, about the push to ban his book due to it’s content.
“I have yet to receive a letter from a child somehow debilitated by the domestic violence, drug abuse, racism, poverty, sexuality, and murder contained in my book. To the contrary, kids as young as ten have sent me autobiographical letters written in crayon, complete with drawings inspired by my book, that are just as dark, terrifying, and redemptive as anything I’ve ever read.”
With books that deal with such strong issues it can be quite confronting and distressing for some. When that is balanced against the children it has managed to reach because they know the same type of pain or humiliation or depression and find solace in knowing that they are not alone, then you need to make that book accessible to them.
Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
A twenty-four strong series that explores the world through the eyes of Alice, who is on the cusp of becoming a teenager. There are cringe worthy moments of embarrassment, new friends, new love interests and a role model or two.
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
When a book is 81 years old and still in-print, I find it shocking that people would still wish to ban it. It’s not longer just a work or fiction, but part of the history of fiction.
What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
Another of those lighter books that explores being a teenage girl and all that entails. I’m extremely disappointed (although not surprised) that nearly all the books on this list involve women protagonists. It feels like we’re continuing a 1950′s women belong in the kitchen mentality. I have to question why women aren’t allowed to explore their sexuality and men are.
Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
Another book that has made itself onto the (not as) big screen. As a weekly television show for CW it sees millions of viewers. As a book it sees itself in the number 9 position for most banned books in 2011. Too rich teenagers, drugs, drinking and sexual encounters. It looks at it all.
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language; racism
New rule; if a book has been in-print for 52 years, it also shouldn’t find itself on the most challenged book list. When complaints are made that To Kill a Mockingbird should be censored because of ‘racism’ I’m unnerved by the lack of comprehension of social commentary and injustice. When a book chooses to hold a mirror up to the law to demonstrate the social inequity that was part of American history… well I’m on board with that book.
Despite my fervant love of the movie, today’s book list looks at young adult novels that pick apart the lives of the rich, famous or just plain popular.
Audrey’s been mentioned several times in recent book lists. It could sound shallow. A girl breaks up with her self-involved boyfriend on the night of a gig, he pens a song about her and it becomes a hit. A huge hit. So big that it takes over Audrey’s life and paints her as the cold-hearted wretch that broke a poor musicians heart…never mind his flaws. Most interesting of Benway’s work is that Audrey infamy is sketched out in the way it affects those around her in both negative and positive forms. She’s a gal that chooses to stand strong in spite of the way people’s perceptions of her have been clouded by a pop hit. A fun read with plenty of spark.
Charles’ debuted on the Australian YA scene with this tale of a dead celebrity obsessed teen and the unlikely friendship she forms with a senior citizen. Hollywood Ending (re-titled John Belushi is Dead in the US) is anything but predictable. Hilda isn’t a character who has fame thrust upon her, instead she is an individual fascinated by the death of those in the pop culture spotlight.
I had never heard of ‘death hags’ before this tale and while the celebrity is explored it is much more. Charles’ explores her characters, their connections to one another and the outside world with an unblinking gaze. It’s a lovely character piece that peers beneath the gloss to the darkened underbelly of LA and its inhabitants both alive and dead.
Stay with me….Collins explores what her protagonist’s success in the Hunger Games arena means for Katniss and all those who care for her. The ramifications for her rebellion are seen everywhere; her relationships, the political arena and all those who stood in her place since the Games began. In becoming ‘the girl on fire’, Katniss has become a much needed signpost for those suffering in Panem, and cause for fear in those satisfied with the status quo. While many prefer the return to the Games setting with the Third Quarter Quell, the political machinations of the novel’s beginning are fascinating to behold.
Teen heart throb, Luke, attends small town high school to learn about the “real teen experience”. The irresponsibility of his time in high school is handed to Jenny, small towngirl and the anonymous contributor behind the school newspaper’s advice column. Turns out Luke might have more to impart to Jenny than visa versa. Like all Cabot novels, Teen Idol is full of spark, sass and sensational heart flutterings. Luke’s presence sets Jenny’s world on edge but it’s what his friendship achieves that is way more interesting.
Katy’s not famous. She’s just a bookworm who has been forced to spend her summer holiday in LA. With her famous dad…who might be better described as infamous. Known as ‘The Rat’ he was once the drummer of the punk band, Suck, and has since sought rehabilitation after a drug addition. Katy has nothing in common with The Rat. She’s a good girl – but maybe that could change. Castellucci is a master at creating real characters with flaws declared for the world to see. She has a firm handle of humour, heart and finding the colour where there once was only beige.
Immigration, refugees, asylum seekers… it’s a hot topic, laden with emotion and misconceptions. SBS takes an innovative look at the issue with their series Go Back to Where You Came From, as well as having some great school resources available online. But what are the best YA reads that address this issue in a modern way?
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Really, does it get any more beautiful than Shaun Tan’s wordless, sepia sketched story of a man’s immigration from a country of darkness to a bewildering (but safe) new society? No. No it doesn’t.
No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis
Ellis is renowned for sharing the stories of those affected by war, from the fictionalised account of a teenager trying to live outside a refugee camps in the Middle East in Shauzia, to the non-fiction account of Iraqi child refugees in Children of War.
No Safe Place is a tale of adventure, following three teen asylum seekers trying to make it to the safety of England.
Allen & Unwin
Growing Up Asian in Australia edited by Alice Pung
A collection of stories that takes a first-hand look at the experience of migration and multiculturalism. Shaun Tan, Leanne Hall, and Oliver Phommevanh (see also: Thai-riffic) are among the many contributors.
Alice Pung has also shared her own family’s immigration story in the exquisitely written Unpolished Gem and Her Father’s Daughter.
The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
Marchetta is well-known for the Italian-Australian character Josie Alibrandi - her transition from teen to adult, and the family secret her grandmother has kept hidden since her migrant days.
I’d really love to highlight Marchetta’s latest work, however. The Lumatere Chronicles explores the devastating situation of refugees in a fantasy (but all too real) world. This is not a place of wizards and elves, but a land of curses and displaced people. Placing this contemporary issue in a fantasy world only serves only to highlight the universality of these emotions and experiences. The final installment in the trilogy, Quintana of Charyn comes out next week (26 September), so now you can read them all at once.
Walk in My Shoes by Alwyn Evans
Gulnessa and her family are ‘boat people’. Fleeing war-torn Afghanistan they make the perrilous journey to Australia, only to be placed in a detention centre.
Watership Down by Richard Adams
The original but timeless refugee story – where anthropomorphised rabbits must find a new home after their warren is destroyed.
Simon & Schuster
Other titles to consider:
Does My Head Look Big In This?
by Randa Abdel-Fattah looks at the contemporary life of a Muslim teen girl, primarily focussing on the broader theme of multiculturalism in Australia, but also touching on the immigrant experience.
- Only The Heart by Brian Caswell and David Phu An Chiem – Toan and Linh flee post-war Saigon.
- Boy Overboard and Girl Underground by Morris Gleitzman, for Middle Grade appropriate depictions of the journey of an asylum seeker, and life in a detention camp, respectively.
What are your recommendations?
I think I was a little ambitious when I went with this list; there are too many to choose from! I’ll revisit the topic at a later date for part two. For the moment, here is a small selection of books that use music in some way.
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Piper is a strong and fearless character with a voice that jumps out of the page at you. She also just happens to be deaf. It was one of those wonderful moments where I realised the author had pulled the wool over my reading eyes and I had no idea until Piper told me outright (page 5) that she’s deaf. In those two little words, ‘I’m deaf’, the author had me questioning the way I read characters – why is the assumption that they can always hear? or see?
If I Stay Series by Gayle Forman
A little different from the rest of our selection, If I Stay focus is that of classical music and the bond Mia feels with music and her instrument, all the while
Audrey Wait by Robin Benway
When Audrey breaks up with her musician boyfriend, he ends up writing a song about her that becomes an instant hit. Suddenly Audrey is notorious and everyone has an opinion about her. But do they want to know the real story behind the song?
Chasing Charlie Duskin by Cath Crowley
Interspersed throughout the book with song lyrics, Chasing Charlie Duskin follows Charlie – a shy and lonely character who begins to live with the help of music and friendship – and Rose – who appears to live life to the full, but is desperate to escape her small town. Crowley’s writing often comes at you with such raw intensity and so poetically, it feels like a song lyrics.
Love Struck Summer by Melissa Walker
Quinn is an indie rock music junkie on summer vacation – no where near the music internship she would have died to have gotten. Making the best of a music-less situation, she sets her sites on local DJ Sebastian, but then there’s Russ who has no idea about music, but is an all around nice Austin guy…and what’s a music indie rock chick to do? Love Struck is a romantic comedy with a musical twist.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Two starry-eyed teenagers, on the cusp of adulthood, embark on a musical journey to find the fabled rock band Where’s Fluffy. On the way there is angst, New York City, love, friendship, more angst and lots of playlists.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
For Charlie, our protagonist, music moves him. It invites him to feel deeply about things around him. He spends his time paying it forward by making mix tapes for his friends. At one stage, he reminisces about when he was younger and stole the mixed types his sister’s boyfriend would give her. While music isn’t the main focus of Perks, it does show how Charlie is able to connect with his friends via his gifts of mixed tapes.
Asleep by the Smiths
Vapour Trail by Ride
Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel
A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum
Dear Prudence by the Beatles
Gypsy by Suzanne Vega
Nights in White Satin by the Moody Blues
Daydream by Smashing Pumpkins
Dusk by Genesis (before Phil Collins was even in the band!)
MLK by U2
Blackbird by the Beatles
Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
Asleep by the Smiths (again!)
This week was a bit of a hectic week for the CYL team; there was Inky and his shortlist announcement and there was MWF.
MWF was great fun for us all. We met some really great authors and had a lot of great panel conversations. Below is a recommended reading list from the panel ‘Read Any Good Books Lately’, with Adele Walsh, Lili Wilkinson and Melissa Traverso.
A Straight Line to my Heart by Bill Condon
A warm tale about Tiff and that in-between time of life where you’re no longer and teenager but not yet an adult. A fairly simple plot where the strength lies in it’s feelings and connections of family, friends and life.
Allen and Unwin
Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield
Vikki Wakefield has such a unique voice and writing style that her stories leave you slightly off kilter. Like you’ve missed a step and had to skip to catch up. Friday Brown finds herself in the seething underground of Australian slums; homeless, afraid and trapped by a curse.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
A very very laugh out loud funny story of Greg, his best friend Earl and Rachel (recently diagnosed with leukaemia). Greg is a jokester; funny, self-deprecating and honest. It would be easy to dismiss this book as just another ‘cancer’ book, but instead it takes on the role of showing the lighter side of a serious subject. There is no miracle save or life lesson. Sometimes death is just death.
Allen and Unwin
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Much like Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is not just a ‘cancer’ book, John Green’s Fault in Our Stars takes a walk on the humorous side of death. There are tears of laughter and despair throughout Hazel and Augustus’ tale. It was a glimpse at the sweetest of every emotion, because there was always the thought that this might be the last.
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Another cusp of life story featuring Ed and Lucy. The adventure they take over one night, the hardships and prejudices they must face, and the decisions they must make to keep their lives moving forward and their futures bright with possibility.
Other titles discussed as must reads-
Only Ever Always by Penni Russon
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
The List by Siobhan Vivian
The Deep: Here be Dragons by Tom Taylor and James Brouwer
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To celebrate the end of book week I decided to take a leaf out of the CBCA’s shoes and go with their 2012 theme: Champions Read!
So here is a list of books with protagonists, or characters, who read.
Harry Potter Series by JK Rowlings
Hermoine is the unsung hero of all the Harry Potter books (personal opinion). Where does she get all her knowledge from? Books, books and more books.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
What made Matilda special was that books were given emotional currency. They were a lifeline, an imaginary escape, from her reality. Matilda found friends, adventure, acceptance and comfort in the world of books.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Jo March; head in a book, clouds in her eyes and a determination to stand up and be heard. Her book reading inspired stories and play time with her siblings. Books inspire Jo to dream of changing the world to make it a better place.
Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald
What’s fresh about this protagonist and her reading is that she rediscovers the joy of reading. Sadie’s life for the last two years has been about Garrett. What Garrett does. What he likes. What he reads. Her crush has caused her to lose herself and become a Garret puppet. So instead of reading Garrett Delaney sanctioned pretentious literature, Sadie is reading romance and sci-fi and having a dandy time of it.
Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
In-between falling in love with vampires, having werewolves fall in love with her and acing her history quiz, Bella always found a quite moment to sit in the sun and have a bit of a read with the classics. Say what you will about Twilight, but it made classics like Wuthering Heights in-vogue again.
The teen years are full of adventures that usually involve a friend that one might call ‘best’. The friend who gets in trouble, becomes a close confidant and trusty sidekick all on one package. Today’s book list looks at the best friend who turns to the dark side and does the unforgiveable ….dum….dum…..dahhhhhhh.
Some Girls Are
Regina is the henchwoman of the most powerful group of girls in school AND the best friend of quiet possibly one of the most evil girls in YA. When Anna (evil best friend) believes Regina’s made a move on her boyfriend, the world of Hallowell High dives into chaos as retribution is handed out. Except Regina’s not going to take it laying down….
When Annabel is found in a compromising position with her best friend’s boyfriend, Sophie excommunicates her from their group. (Yes, this sounds familiar to the previous title but emotionally they are two very distinct stories.) Annabel retreats into herself and it is through her friendship with the rehabilitated Owen (anger issues) that she starts finding her voice at school and at home.
The (Not Quite) Perfect Boyfriend
Spurred on by her best friend Tahni’s jibes that she’s without a love life, Midge creates a fictional boyfriend. When the boyfriend she invented turns up at school, Midge’s untruth has the potential to unravel but Ben saves the day. But he may not be as perfect as the boyfriend she created.
Allen and Unwin
Other titles to check out:
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (Text)
- Notes from a Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell (Macmillan)
- Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard (HarperCollins)
Technology changes our world and the way we live, so of course authors have long been taking great delight in speculating how else it might change us. This list focuses on one particular popular pastime – video games:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Three hidden keys open three secret gates…
In the dystopian world of 2044 the online world of OASIS is the ultimate escapism. Its creator has died leaving no heir – whoever finds and solves the riddles hidden within OASIS will inherit control of it (and a massive fortune to boot).
MMORPG meets 80s arcade games in this nerdalicious read.
Erebos by Ursula Poznanski
Are you playing the game – or is the game playing you?
Erebos is a highly addictive but eerily sinister computer game (MMORPG). You cannot buy it, you cannot talk about it, and you don’t get second chances. When Nick finally gets his hands on a copy, he’s so immersed that – like so many players before him – he doesn’t think twice when the game starts giving him tasks to do in the real world.
Caution: the book is as addictive as the game it’s named for.
Allen & Unwin
For the Win by Cory Doctorow
In China and India the skills of teenage game-players are exploited by adults and companies for real-world profits and gains. These people are so ruthless that the teens will need real-world cooperation as well as the biggest online hack ever, in order to escape and survive.
Doctorow uses MMORPG to explore complicated real-world economics and social issues such as (un)fair working conditions and unionism.
or free download from the author’s website
.hack manga series by Tatsuya Hamazaki
There are several series (and anime, and games) in the “dot-hack” franchise, all centering around a fictional online role-playing game (MMORPG) called The World.
.hack//Legend of the Twilight follows t
Our booktalker event on Tuesday (31st of July) concentrated on engaging reluctant readers through the middle years.
One of the avenues discussed was comics. The following is a suggested list to get you started in comics. There are a host of different ages and genres to engage any reader.
Australia’s only full-time comic book writer, Tom Taylor’s recommendations:
Super Dinosaur by Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard
10+ is the perfect age group for this. Derek, our protagonist, and SD (super dinosaur), fight evil and save the world. You know how it is.
Buffy Comics by Joss Whedon
Follows a ’season 8′ storyline (season 7 was the last for the tv show). For all your students who love the Buffy tv series, it has the same sense of darkness with humour that Whedon is known for. Not to mention lots of fighting action scenes. Plus, who doesn’t love a strong female protagonist, ridding the world of evil?
Dark Horse Comics
X-Men by Joss Whedon
Much like the Buffy comics, Whedon’s X-Men series mixes dark issues, humour and action scenes to create a balanced reading experience.
I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly
A girl protagonist who escapes the reality of her life into a fantasy world filled with giants. Convinced she is meant to kill the giants and save the world, reality and fantasy begins to merge into something new. While the protagonist, Barbara, is in fifth grade, this would be more suitable to a slightly older audience, grade 6 up.
Joe Kelly is the creator of the Ben 10 series, should you need to ’sell’ it a bit to your student.
Locke and Key by Joe Hill
Joe Hill is the son of the son of horror giant Stephen King. So he does suspense, horror and terror really well. Definitely for your older students, 15+.
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
A darkly gothic tale of Morpheus, the personification of Dreams. Captured and held prisoner for 70 years, Morpheus escapes. Left without his powers he goes on a quest to regain everything he lost during his years of imprisonment. There is violence, nudity and disturbing scenes, in The Sandman, so caution is
Heartbreak is an experience we all go through. It’s the universal heart crushing, tear inducing, stomach clenching ick fest that seems to dominate our teen existence. Enjoy!
Getting Over Garrett Delaney
Sadie is deeply in love with Garrett, her best friend.
He’s going away and she finally realises they are never going to be a couple. Time for the twelve step detox program to get over him and find herself again.
McDonald has created a wealth of characters in this novel that I would like to adopt as my gang. Strong, vibrant, diverse women who help Sadie move on and out into the world. The dialogue is snappy and the detox involves Sadie wading into many of my favourite things in life (one of which is Veronica Mars).
Where She Went
Adam isn’t just heartbroken. His heart was ripped out, shredded, set alight and then stomped on when Mia left. It has been five years and he’s still angry, resentful and lost.
And then she’s back. One night. New York City. The lights, the music, the people. A chance for Adam to get over Mia, to understand why and where she went. A chance for a new start.
A great exploration of a ‘new adult’ character dealing with the rage of being left behind by the girl who meant everything.
Why We Broke Up
Mim and Ed are finished. Over. Dunzo.
In her last act of their history she is returning a box of items that act as signposts from their time together. Accompanying the box is a letter in which she provides the origin of each item and how they contributed to the end of their relationship.
Bitterness, humour and everything in between are portrayed in Handler’s words and Kalman’s whimsical illustrations.
Hardie Grant Egmont
Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green & David Levithan
Two perspectives from two different Will Graysons, as written by two different authors. It sounds chaotic enough to work and it does, exceedingly well.
If there’s ever a character to remember it is that of Ti
The relationship between siblings is often removed to a tertiary plot point position in young adult literature. If it is the main focus quite often one of the siblings is a) missing, 2) run away, or 3) dead. In this book list I shall endeavour to give you a mix of the above with some exploration into less dramatic sister relationships.
Little Women by L.M. Alcott
You cannot talk about sisters and not mention the March family.
Four sisters as different from one another as girls can be with the familiar push/pull of familial relations. Whether it be the closeness of Jo and Beth, or the antagonism between Jo and Amy – the reader knows these sisters are tight.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
This is a novel in which the older sister has just died but it is the consequential fall out that captures the imagination. Lennie’s grief is intertwined with that of her sister’s boyfriend, her family as well as coping with the new guy in her life. All is depicted with a beautiful emotion balance that is at time filtered through Lennie’s poetical writing.
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway
Upon their parent’s divorce sisters April, May and June recover their childhood powers. The oldest sister is a worrier and has the power of precognition, the second feels invisible and can become so when she wills it and the youngest can read minds. Benway’s witty and fluid dialogue allows the sister’s love and loathing for one another to play authentically. Family upheaval, high school and the onset of magical powers make this a fun read.
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
A challenging exploration of two sisters dealing with the need to assert independence whilst also competing for the attentions of others. Lanagan has created a complex world that allows the sisters to self actualise despite the challenges and threats of an uncertain world. For sophisticated readers.
Allen and Unwin
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