For the next instalment of Aussie Week this week on my blog, I am talking about some of my favourite YA books by Australian author. Love Oz YA is something that has developed a lot this year to help support Australian YA authors. So today I am going to recommend a few of my favourite Australian YA books and hopefully you can recommend a few to me in the comments below since I would love to expand my collection!
Illuminae – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
What I loved about this book is that it’s told through a series of messages, emails, files, interviews and transcripts and it’s something different to the usual YA sci-fi. I went to the launch of the second book in this trilogy and met the authors a few weeks ago, which you can check out here: https://alwaysandforeverreading.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/amie-kaufman-and-jay-kristoff-gemina-book-launch/
Zac and Mia – A.J. Betts
Seventeen-year-old Zac Meier is experiencing a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.
I loved that this book was also set in Australia and it was so cool to read about places and cities that I knew about and could picture clearly. Although this isn’t one of the best books I’ve ever read, it certainly was an enjoyable read.
Breathing Under Water – Sophie Hardcastle
Ben and Grace Walker are twins. Growing up in a sleepy coastal town it was inevitable they’d surf. Always close, they hung out more than most brothers and sisters, surfing together for hours as the sun melted into the sea. At seventeen, Ben is a rising surf star, the golden son and the boy all the girls fall in love with. Beside him, Grace feels like she is a mere reflection of his light. In their last year of school, the world beckons, full of possibility. Then, one day, the unthinkable. Suddenly everything that was safe and predictable is lost.
You’ve been reading my blog for a while, you would know how much I love this book because I mention it in almost every blog post. It is definitely my favourite book of the year and maybe all time. It made me laugh, cry and think about my position in the world.
The Yearbook Committee – Sarah Ayoub
Five teenagers. Five lives. One final year. The school captain, the newcomer, the loner, the popular girl, and the politicians daughter. Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?
The concept of this book was really interesting to me and I felt a bit of “The Breakfast Club” vibe as we were introduced to the five high school stereotypes. The character development in this book was also really obvious and interesting to read about.
When Michael Met Mina – Randa Abdel-Fattah
When Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides. Mina fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre. Michael’s parents have founded a new political party called Aussie Values. They want to stop the boats. Mina wants to stop the hate. When Mina wins a scholarship to Michael’s private school, their lives crash together blindingly.
This book talks about a really serious issue that is occurring in Australia and other countries right now, and I feel like not enough books cover this topic, especially YA. In this book we hear both sides and perspectives in Asylum Seekers and it really opens your eyes to how the other half is living.
The Pause – John Larkin
Declan seems to have it all: a family that loves him, friends he’s known for years, a beautiful girlfriend he would go to the ends of the earth for. But there’s something in Declan’s past that just won’t go away, that pokes and scratches at his thoughts when he’s at his most vulnerable. So he makes the only decision he thinks he has left: the decision to end it all. Or does he? As the train approaches and Declan teeters at the edge of the platform, two versions of his life are revealed. In one, Declan watches as his body is destroyed and the lives of those who loved him unravel. In the other, Declan pauses before he jumps. And this makes all the difference.
I had this book on my shelf for about a year before I decided to pick it up, and I really wished that I had read it sooner. This book talks about rough topics that isn’t talked about enough in YA, and it made me feel a whole range of emotions. It teaches young readers that no matter how hard your life may seem at the moment, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
I only just realised that Marcus Zusak is an Australian author – but if you haven’t heard of this book then I’m not sure where you’ve been! I read this book a few years ago, and even though I’m not a massive fan of big books, I loved this one. It focuses on a time in history that really interest me, and I loved that it was told from the perspective of death but focuses on a young girl who has no idea just how bad the world is.
Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland
Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love that he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Grace isn’t who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys’ clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her.
I loved how this book focuses on a range of different topics including young love, mental health, family and friendship. There is also a sense of mystery in this book as the readers are set to discover who Grace really is.
So those are eight amazing Australian YA books that you guys should check out. Let me know down below if you have read any of these books or you have any to recommend to me 🙂