Welcome to the first (non-speculative) YA round up for the year. I’ll be alternating these each month with the Children’s round ups, and it’s really exciting to see the wonderful books which are being reviewed so far.
There’s been a really interesting mix of recent and less-recent YA books so far this year. Particularly pleasing was catching up with Tien’s review of The Intern by Gabrielle Tozer (which I’ve recently read, but haven’t reviewed yet). Tien was impressed by this debut novel about a young intern taking her first steps into the magazine world, summing her feelings up:
Aaaah… you know that feeling… that wonderful, warm, cuddly feeling at the end of the novel when you found a big silly smile on your face? Yeah, that’s the one! That’s what The Intern has left me with and I can’t seem to get rid of it.
Rochelle reviewed Jumping Fences by Karen Wood – the story of Zoe who has woken up after a mustering accident with missing memories. She mentioned that she’s been looking for a book like this – teen rural romance – for quite a long time, and that Jumping Fences didn’t disappoint at all.
Angie introduced the intriguing just_a_girl by Kirsten Krauth, highlighting the mixture of adventures on public transport, attitudes towards identity and relationships and the use of dolls as companions in a lonely life. I think I’m definitely going to hunt this one out.
Amongst a couple of less recent YA books reviewed was Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get a Life (by Maureen McCarthy) which has actually been reviewed twice since the beginning of the year. Liz Barr wrote about how she loved this book as a teenager and that she was interested to return to the book as an adult. Yes, she admits, there are cliches in the book, but they are so well written that you often forget that they are cliches.
She also discusses how the book has become richer for her since she moved to Melbourne, now that she knows the streets where the story is set. However,
. . . a lot of their Melbourne is gone. The department stores where Carmel tries on clothes she can’t afford have closed. The Chilean cafes in Collingwood and Fitzroy serve Tex Mex now. These girls were the first wave of a gentrification that has dramatically changed the inner north
This really encouraged some reflection on how we look back at books with strong settings – particularly books which play such a big part in shaping our images of those places when we are young readers. I’m definitely going to be thinking more about that as I read recent and less recent YA books.
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 and sporadically blogging over at Adventures of a Subversive Reader