What an amazing start to the year, with 26 fabulous reviews covering a books with a wide range of ideas, topics and time periods. I honestly had the most wonderful time reading through these reviews and I’m thrilled so many excellent reviewers have joined the challenge.
Since the beginning of the year, we’ve seen the release of The Stella’s longlist which included a Young Adult novel! Laurinda by Alice Pung has been reviewed twice since the beginning of the year. Kate talked about how Laurinda appealed to a range of readers:
“Although Lucy faces cultural challenges not common to all teenagers, her insecurities, vulnerabilities and victories are easy to relate to, making the story appealing for both its intended audience (young adults) and adults – seriously, who’d want to be a teenager again? Not me.”
Meanwhile Cassie wrote about how she is going to buy a copy to put aside for her own daughters:
“It espouses so many terrific values – the importance of humility and family, and the idea that leadership is not about fear, but about empathy, self-awareness and standing up for what is just and fair. Best of all – this goodness is wrapped up in humorous and insightful writing. The kids won’t even know it’s good for them.”
There were three reviews for the newly released YA book, A Small Madness by Dianne Touchell. Dark Matter Zine mentions that a number of characters felt two-dimensional and the envelope was sometimes pushed too far, yet the book was compelling, while Monique summed up the book in a single word – brilliant.
“A Small Madness is an intense and confronting novel. The reader is compelled to consider the actions of Rose and Michael, and in doing so, may be taken far out of their comfort zone.”
Shelleyrae also reviewed this book and talked about how the author created characters you could feel for, even when you don’t agree with their decisions:
“Rose and Michael are ‘good kids’ from middle class families who regularly attend church, gets good grades and have plans for their future. I can’t profess to understand their behaviour, but I feel that Touchell communicated her characters rationalisations well and my sympathy was stirred for both characters despite their egregious mistakes.”
Senior Australian of the Year, Australian Children’s Laureate, literary advocate and indefatigable author, Jackie French appears with two different books amongst this lot of reviews. Louise reviewed I am Juliet and spoke about how French had been motivated to create a story of Romeo and Juliet for students who weren’t enjoying reading Romeo and Juliet:
“I am Juliet is an amazing first person account from young Juliet Capulet herself. Within pages I was in the thrall of Juliet’s world. Juliet is a lonely young girl, cared for by servants, being educated as befitting a young lady of her station, her parents distant. It’s a beautiful evocation of the time.”
Meanwhile Shannon reviewed A Waltz For Matilda – the first book in the Matilda Saga.
“A Waltz for Matilda deserves to be better known and more widely read than it currently is. It’s a Young Adult historical fiction novel that is accessible to children and just as satisfying and wonderful a read for adults – it’s not many authors who have such breadth in their style. French effortlessly captures the tone and feel of the era, both through period details and characterisation as well as through the way she writes. It’s not that it’s written in a faux “olde worlde” style – that would be naff to the highest degree – but that the articulate, intelligent, smoothly-flowing prose instantly grounds the reader in another era.”
As well as these reviews (which you should all go and read immediately!) I would also like to draw your attention to a few more. I wish I had the space to talk at length about all of them!
- Surrender by Sonya Hartnett (reviewed by Dani)
- Head of the River by Pip Harry (reviewed by Bree)
- Nona and Me by Clare Atkins (reviewed by myself)
- The Incredible Here and Now by Felicity Castagna (reviewed by Louise)
- Cinnamon Rain by Emma Cameron (reviewed by Louise)
- New Guinea Moon by Kate Constable (reviewed by myself)
- Too Flash by Melissa Lucashenko (reviewed by Jo)
This was a truly wonderful start to 2015. I am thrilled to see so many wonderful reviewers sharing their YA reviews with us and I hope it continues throughout the rest of the year!
Despite many hints that I am supposed to ‘grow up’ at some point, YA novels continue to play a huge part in my reading life. This has served me well, when I became a teacher and was known for always having a book recommendation at hand. I’m currently enjoying the rich world of picture books with my toddler, revisiting some of my favourite authors and sporadically blogging over at Subversive Reader