Last month’s issue of reviews of young adult fiction by Australian women writers was dominated by reviews of A.J. Betts’ latest book, Hive. Hive was again the most reviewed book in this issue and I thoroughly enjoyed reading every page of this book which reminded me of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Highly recommended for YA readers and those who enjoy books which make you ponder the intricies of human society and relationships.

Jemima of Oddfeather Creative recommends Hive “…to anyone who loves a carefully crafted world-building, who has wondered what humanity might look like pared down its essential elements, and who has known what it feels like to be dangerously curious, fascinated with the macabre and the unexplainable. I am extremely curious to read the next book in this two-novel series, Rogue, a small excerpt of which is tantalisingly placed on the very last page of Hive.

Veronica from The Burgeoning Bookshelf is also eagerly awaiting the last instalment in this series.

If there was a prize for reviewing YA novels in this issue it would surely go to H.M. Waugh who reviewed three books:

The first was Yellow by Megan JacobsonWaugh says the story is spooky, surprising, generous, and sweet and full of clever writing. She warns the books deals with issues like suicide, bullying, and alcoholism.

Next is Ellie Marney’s White Night:

There are a lot of things to like in ‘White Night’, but if I had to pick three, this’d be them:

  • Character arcs of awesome

  • Level-headed enviro representation

  • General air of stereotype-smashing.

Lastly, Waugh reviewed A Semi-definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland:

This story deals with heavy issues like mental illness and anxiety in a beautiful way. It blends fantasy and reality and then snicks home the message at the end. It encourages the reader to grab life and live it and care for those around you, and be brave enough to be who you really are. To love who you are.

Mercy Point by Anna Snoekstra was reviewed by Amanda of Mrs B’s Boook Reviews:

Mercy Point is an unsteady tale, full of twists and shocks. It is a novel that works to reveal the hidden secrets and core identity of a group of teens living in the small Australian town.The combination of diverse characters, the slow reveal of deeply entrenched town secrets and a rich atmosphere dripping in suspicion makes Mercy Point a riveting young adult based thriller.

It was also reviewed by Claire Holderness who said Mercy Point drew her in, held her attention and left her wanting more. Claire also reviewed Unforgivable by S.D. Wasley and gave it five stars. Claire said Unforgivable was her favourite book in Wasley’s Incorruptible series.

Ashleigh from The Book Muse brings this issue of YA reviews to a close with her review of After the Lights Go Out by Lili Wilkinson. This book has been all over social media in recent weeks and so I was keen to read Ashleigh’s review. Here’s a teaser to whet your appetite:

The book is filled with diverse and amazing characters, from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, in a tiny town where yes, there are conflicts, but the quick realisation that working together will be the best thing – that community will help, and in the end, this rings true…The premise of this #LoveOzYA novel is very different and unique… – the idea that the bonds of family, friendship and love of all kinds can be tested in a variety of ways, proving the strength of community in dire times – when everyone bands together to help each other, and does their best to set aside their differences.

Please keep reading and reviewing books by Australian women writers and don’t forget to link your review to the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge.


N.L.King was born in Dublin, Ireland and now calls Australia home. Nadia is an author, blogger, and presenter. Her debut book, Jenna’s Truth, is published by boutique small press, Serenity Press based in Western Australia. Inspired by the real-life story of the late Canadian teenager Amanda Todd, this story puts a human face on cyberbullying…[and is] a deeply affecting, valuable story and educational tool.’ — Kirkus Reviews. Nadia is passionate about using stories to reflect a diversity of realities in order to positively impact teen lives, and runs a teen book club for the Centre for stories. Nadia enjoys writing contemporary young adult fiction and short fiction and lives in Western Australia with her family.