Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology – Edited by Danielle Binks
24th April 2017, HarperCollins Publishers Australia
336 pages, 5/5 stars
This is an incredible selection of Australia’s best young adult authors. I loved each and every one of these short stories, all from authors I am familiar with except for Danielle Binks herself, Melissa Keil, and Ellie Marney. I think that a few lines on each story might be the best way to review this book, so see below…
One Small Step – Amie Kaufman
The main character in this short story, Zaida, is the first child born on Mars. Earth loves her; her public status has opened many doors. Her parents want her to study medicine back on the home planet. But who does Zaida actually want to be? If there were no outside influences, what would she choose to do with her life? A scary incident brings these questions to the surface. What a fabulous little story about identity, and especially about that tricky moment between high school and university where there are endless opportunities, but you only get to pick one… (Just for the record, I love Amie’s visions of space habitats; she writes space very, very well – see Illuminae.)
I Can See the Ending – Will Kostakis Read more
Frogkisser! – Garth Nix
22nd February 2017, Allen&Unwin
336 pages, 5/5 stars
I want to scream from the rooftops about this book. I need EVERYONE to buy a copy and devour it as many times as possible so that I can discuss it with everyone I meet. It is absolutely adorable, funny, and probably MY FAVOURITE BOOK OF 2017. (Yes, I’m calling it this early.)
Princess Anya is in a pickle. Her sister’s prince has been turned into a frog by their step-stepfather. But Morven doesn’t want to fix her own messes. So Anya steps up, and takes on a quest to find the ingredients for a magic lip-balm which will restore the prince to his human form. Together with Ardent, one of the talking palace dogs, Anya’s hijinks begin.
Frogkisser is a truly marvellous, rollicking, twisted fairytale with giggles galore. Princess Anya is plucky and funny, and treats her adventures with a perfect level of scepticism – this princess isn’t a damsel in distress. Plus, there is no romance plot which is incredibly refreshing. Read more
These two books have convinced me, once and for all, that poetry is a genre I can get behind! Milk and Honey and The Princess Saves Herself in This One are essential reading for young women – they are empowering, and give voice to the very real struggles we often face in our lives. Totally and utterly incredible.
The Princess Saves Herself in This One – Amanda Lovelace
23rd April 2016, CreateSpace
158 pages, 5/5 stars
I bought this book of poetry for its title. Its empowering and heartfelt words enchanted me. Lovelace has created a work of art – the way she positions her poetry on the page is beautiful.
The dedication is ‘for the boy who lived’ and Lovelace’s Twitter handle is @ladybookmad, so I knew that we would get along before I even opened the page.
It is the story of a life, at times devastating, at times hopeful, always beautifully depicted. Read this book, and like me, be encouraged to slay your own dragons, be the princess who saves herself. Read more
I have a lot to do with children’s books through my work. And this is how I discovered two of my favourite books of the year, which just happen to be picture books – A Child of Books and Somewhere Else. I included the end pages and a teeny illustration from each book in the photographs so you understand why you NEED these books on your shelf!
Child of Books – Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston
1st September 2016, Walker Books Australia
40 pages, 5/5 stars
This is the greatest gift you can give any book lover, of any age. The title character, the child of books, encourages a little boy to follow her – to sail on a sea of words, to climb mountains of make-believe, and to sleep on clouds of song. The illustrations are absolutely incredible – Sam Winston has created amazing landscapes using words from children’s classics to host Oliver Jeffers’ characters. Read more
Five books this week (29th August – 4th September)! Unpopular opinion alert about Our Chemical Hearts – I have only seen good things online, but I was sorely disappointed!!! Other than that, I adored my reread of Illuminae, loved Six of Crows so much (swashbuckling teams of vagabonds and spies are now firmly cemented as one of my favourite tropes!), and was inspired by Very Good Lives. The beautiful illustrations in The Girl of Ink and Stars made me super happy! Overall a good week. Grab any of these books for your own shelves at Booktopia!
Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland (Australian author) (1 star)
It took me a loooonnnnggg time to read this book. In direct contrast to the glowing reviews it has all over the internet, I strongly disliked it. It read like an incredibly crappy John Green novel. Despite being written by an Australian author, the book is set in the US and the only Aussie character was a total stereotype who really really grated on me. There were also problems with the representation of a character with health issues – both physical and emotional. The circumstances surrounding this book have made me angry – it has been sold into America, and the marketing efforts for it worldwide have been phenomenal, but this is NOT how Australian YA should be represented to the world. There are so many better examples out there, and I am disappointed that THIS is the book with so much attention.
Very Good Lives – J. K. Rowling (5 stars) Read more
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
31st July 2016, Little, Brown
340 pages, 5/5 stars
A new Harry Potter will always be a cause for celebration. Nine years ago, when I closed the last book, I experienced a deep, deep sorrow that Harry’s story was over. But he is BACK! I was lucky enough to be working in a bookshop this morning – it wasn’t as busy as I expected, but there was a pretty constant flow of people! I got to open the boxes, but I only worked until midday, so there was still plenty of time to read the book!
First off, it is essential to highlight that this book is a SCRIPT. I thought that it would be difficult to read, but I was really pleasantly surprised. Read more
Nevernight – Jay Kristoff
25th July 2016, Harper Voyager
427 pages, 5/5 stars
NEVER FLINCH. NEVER FEAR. NEVER FORGET.
Mia Corvere is the kind of girl I wish I could be. She is intelligent, brave, and deadly. She reminded Caelena Sardothien from Throne of Glass – and then I realised that Mia was overall totally more badass! (I still love Caelena, but she is SOFT compared to Mia.)
There is so much to love about this book that I cannot possibly fit it all into such a small amount of space – I could easily write an essay on the positive points of this book!
I was highly, highly impressed by the FOOTNOTES! I absolutely love footnotes in books – and Jay Kristoff uses them incredibly well for his world-building. I learnt a lot about the culture and history of Itreya. The book is set on a planet with three suns, meaning that the world is very rarely dark. I loved the small detail Jay mentioned about the Guild of Curtain-Makers being one of the wealthiest! Jay had an astronomer friend of his help him with the creation of this world – I love that level of research! Also, the city in which the book is set, has been formed by the bones of a dead God – HOW COOL IS THAT? Are you intrigued yet? Read more