Another month has passed and I’m back with a round up of some really awesome Young Adult fiction reviews. Reviewers have covered books from Tasmania to Perth, with intruders, sauce making, secret organisations and summer romances along the way.
There were a couple of really interesting crime/thriller novels reviewed since the last round up. Jason Nahrung reviewed Intruder by Christine Bongers, which uses the terrifying moment of waking up with an intruder in your bedroom to unveil the life and family of the main character Kat.
There’s a lot of charm in this yarn, mixing humour and tension in a believable scenario that unearths home truths and serves up a warning about the dangers of jumping to conclusions.
Margaret Wild’s The Vanishing Moment was reviewed by Bernadette. It’s a brief story of three people who seem to have nothing to do with each other – until their lives intertwine. Bernadette didn’t want to give too much of the book away (and recommends staying away from reviews which give away too much), but found it enjoyable overall:
It’s not a traditional crime novel in that there are no procedural elements and whodunit is never the central question but there are crimes and these events, and how people react to them, are pivotal to the story.
Melina Marchetta is often mentioned when Australian YA is talked about. For this round up, her first two books – Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca were reviewed. Bree reviewed Looking for Alibrandi and talked about how marriage into a Sicilian family means that she relates more to main character Josie now, than she did as a teenager. She also mentioned that it had been a long time since she’d read Looking for Alibrandi, and the impact of certain events was almost as great as the first time she read it.
It’s so easy to believe that you have it all, as a teenager, that tragedy is something that only happens to other people. There are so many things that can give you the most brutal of reminders that it isn’t true.
I reread and reviewed Saving Francesca, which tends to completely engross me every time I read it. While I love Francesca, I also find myself falling in love with all the characters in the book:
Supporting characters are a real strength of Marchetta’s and you can see that here – from the giggly ‘big-boy’ worship of Francesca’s little brother Luca, to the brisk, but sympathetic supervisor at her mother’s university, to the other students and teachers at her new school.
Two reviewers covered The Recruit by Fiona Palmer, a novel about Perth boxer Jaz, who finds herself being recruited for a secret agency. Nicole could see the scope for a series developing from this book, with more story to be told and characters and relationships to be further developed. Lauredhel was particularly interested to see that it was set in her hometown and was very impressed to see such a strong, non-white female main character – something which we don’t see a huge amount of in Australian YA.
Chiara reviewed The Minnow by Diana Sweeney – a unique coming of age story. She found it difficult to characterise – it’s set in a contemporary time and setting and yet there is something ‘more’ to it.
Tom is an incredibly deep and complex character. She is one of those characters that feels very three dimensional; very real, and I loved reading about her life. She’s not perfect, but she’s funny and thoughtful and so very strong. The way she looks at life is a completely Tom way – completely her, and utterly wonderful to read about. There wasn’t one moment that I did not enjoy reading about her world through her eyes.
Finally, Jess at the Never Ending Bookshelf reviewed a series of books by G. J. Walker-Smith, beginning with Saving Wishes - the story of what happens when Charli – a 17 year old with a tattered reputation living in a small town in Tasmania – meets Adam – a 21 year old French-American born into the world of money and sensible jobs.
Ultimately Saving Wishes is a coming of age story which promises to bring change and romance to the world of its readers. Much like the stories themselves, the reader will be enchanted by Charli’s tales and her mischievous adventures and Adam Décarie will delight your senses in ways only a Décarie can do.
One thing I really notice in this round up is how diverse the books are – everything from crime to coming of age stories to romance. There’s been some interesting chat around lately about where YA is at the moment and where it’s going into the future – the wide range of books covered here makes me think that the future of YA is going to be an interesting one.
YA novels were my ticket to ‘coolness’ in high school, when my speed reading led to an invitation to choose new books for the school library. I continued reading children’s and YA books long after I was supposed to ‘grow up’ – something which served me very well when I became a teacher and was known all over the school as ‘the teacher with the books’. I’m currently on maternity leave, enjoying the rich world of picture books with my toddler, saving libraries and sporadically blogging over at Adventures of a Subversive Reader