December Round Up 2019


Welcome to the December Round Up for Children’s and Young Adult books. We had ten reviews for Young Adult, and – reviews for Children’s books. We had a few different reviewers in the YA section, and one book I want to highlight amongst others is a self-published one called Gom’s Gold by S.L. Mills. It is a fantasy set in Australia that melds mythic and fantasy traditions from a variety of cultures and works them together in a way that makes perfect sense. I read this whilst in Noosa for a funeral and it was exactly what I needed to recharge.

Other books reviewed this month include: Catching Teller Crow by Ezekiel Kwaymullina and Amber Kwaymullina –  a literary Indigenous YA Novel that seems to have had a lot of love this year, so maybe I’ll get to it this year, as I am hoping to get on top of everything as it comes through this year for everything. It’s also a ghost story, and Nancy Elin, who reviewed it says amongst everything, it had no weak points and was fun to read. I included her review here because its style is different – she uses lists for each discussion point, and I thought this was an intriguing way of setting out her thoughts and hope everyone else will be interested too.

Some of the other books have been featured throughout the year in other round-ups, so the last one I will showcase is by B.R Kyle about Fence by C.S. Pacat .This is a graphic novel, something I haven’t seen reviewed much here, and why I included it, like the previous two, this is a type of book or review not often showcased, or at least, not that I have found so far for my round ups. B.R. Kyle breaks their review down into plot and character aspects, and discusses their thoughts on them which is another interesting way of doing it, compared to just writing out linked paragraphs in the way many of us do.

For children’s books, we had 22 reviews in December! So choosing which ones to show case was difficult, as there were so many that had great potential to be discussed here. We had picture books and chapter books for kids, buy well-known and not so well-known authors – again, this made it hard to choose because – well, how do you choose from so many and only have three or four in here? A new challenge for me to navigate this year as I will be combining children’s and young adult in 2020.

As the editor, I read three of the five Pippa’s Island books – books 2- 4 and some Emily Rodda, the latter of which I believe was included in Spec Fiction. As this is the December round up, it would be remiss of me to not include That Christmas Feeling by Lili Wilkinson, reviewed by Jess at the Neverending Bookshelf – . Jess says it is about more than just Christmas, as many Christmas stories are I have found – but still maintains a Christmassy feeling for readers to enjoy, and she says to keep an eye out for the twist at the end of the book. Jess reviewed several Christmas books in December, and I encourage you all to check them out on her blog.

Our top reviewers for this month appear to have been Jess and myself, and I can see that most of the reads are picture books or adult books rejigged for a younger audience, with a few exceptions. It is interesting to see how many picture books versus chapter books are reviewed for children and younger readers. Jess also reviewed a few by Indigenous authors, which may have been covered in the diversity round up as well.

In 2019, it looks as though we had more YA books read, yet more variety with numbers of reviews for the children’s books, which is interesting.


2019 YA stats

In 2019, we had 18- books reviewed over twelve months for the young adult category.  Below are the statistics on how many books people reviewed to add up to this total for those who contributed the most reviews. The average reviewed was between one and five for most people, and out of the 180, the following reviewers reviewed the most books in this category.

Dark Matter Zine – 30 reviews

Ashleigh Meikle – The Book Muse – 12 reviews

Everyone else – between one and five each across the year consistently


2019 Children’s Stats

175 reviews in total were reviewed for children’s books in 2019. I’ve given a list of the reviewers and break down of how many they read in 2019. Most people reviewed an average of one to seven for everyone else.

Jess @ The Neverending Bookshelf – 33 reviews

Ashleigh Meikle – The Book Muse – 31 reviews

Amanda Barrett – 21 reviews

Jonathon Shaw – 16 reviews

Brona’s Books – 13 reviews

Dark Matter Zine – 11 reviews

Amy at Lost in a Good Book – 8 reviews

Top Authors Reviewed:

Most authors received an average of one or two reviews each – depending on the author and the book, and whether the reviewers could access them or knew about them. Many authors I have only heard of through this challenge – and I must admit there are too many to read them all, so I’ll try and read the books that appeal to me based on plot.

Kate Forsyth – 7 for children’s books, three young adult – ten in total

Jackie French – 7 for children’s books,

Alison Lester – 8 for children’s books

Emily Rodda – 13 for children’s books

Belinda Murrell – 4 for children’s books

Jessica Townsend – 4 for children’s books, five for young adult – 9 in total

A.J. Betts – 9 for Young Adult

Alison Goodman – 4 for young adult

Lynette Noni – 6 for young adult

So that’s 2019 in a wrap! I hope I caught everything, there was so much there! Good luck in 2020!