Sunday, 10 April 2016

Review: Frankie by Shivaun plozza

Frankie by Shivaun Plozza is about a teenage girl living in Collingwood and she has some serious anger issues. She lives with her aunt and has not seen her mother since she was four. Then a half brother turns up that she didn't know she had. She asks questions when he goes missing, that no one else is.

The character Frankie is well developed, her anger issues have been well thought out and her exchanges with a psychologist are well written. There is a strong connection to place in this story and it provides great descriptions of real Australian suburbs.

However by the end of the story I didn't know who was responsible for the crime that took place. I think I missed something somewhere. This wasn't my kind of story but I do love to see a different kind of class representation in Aus YA so it really is kicking goals on that front. I'm not usually into the mystery or crime genre so that is probably why I didn't get into it as much as I'd hoped.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Good Oil by Laura Buzzo

Good Oil by Laura Buzzo is a story about the lives of two who work in Woolworths. Amelia is a high school student and Chris is a charming uni student who she has a crush on, but can anything happen?

 The layout is really different from other books. Chris is perspective is told in a diary entry style. Amelia's perspective is in a present tense commentary style. The chapters have amusing/ironic titles, which I appreciated. There also was illustrations of their name badges to say which perspective we were about to read. I loved this little touch!

The characters were very well developed. Amelia is a smart girl, but she's still figuring things out like most people her age. Chris is so funny and charming. His character was enjoyable to read and his feelings about his peers successes and his take on uni life resonated with me (I have most of his thoughts).

Expectations were high but I worried that the ending would leave me feeling flat, but Laura Buzzo did a brilliant job of saving the ending from that terrible fate.

This is Australian YA done well. It's a quirky story great for both fifteen years olds and uni students.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The yearbook committe by Sarah Ayoub

The yearbook committee is Australian to the core. It's rich, diverse and deliver's some valuable lessons, to the reader, but it's also funny! The use of Australian colloquialisms is perfect. This is exactly the kind of book I wanted to find, when I set myself the challenge to read as many Asus YA novels this year.

The layout is clever and really adds to experience of this book. I loved Gill's minutes from their meetings. The grid paper looked really cool and I love the profiles each character had at the beginning of their chapters.

Each teenager speaks for their point of view, and each character's story get's a good amount of time. I didn't feel like anyone's story was rushed. Although I feel like there should have been at least a reference to my favourite character's funeral. Sorry I just really loved that person! Despite that though it has a really strong ending and in all honesty is thought provoking. Sarah Ayoub's writing has a beautiful quality to it, that I as an aspiring writer, can only ever dream to one day achieve. Please read this and share with young people, this book has many important messages in it. I hope one day it gets added to the school curriculum.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

I'm still new to graphic novels. I read Maggie Thrash's memoir last year and loved it. This year I've given the graphic genre another go, with Roller Girl, by Victoria Jamieson.
I love roller derby. It's great to watch and the people involved in the community are some of the best people. Roller girl is about 12 year old Astrid. It's summer before she starts junior high. Her friendship dynamic is changing and she doesn't know what this means. She also learns about the coolest sport on earth, roller derby!

The illustrations are superb. Victoria has done a brilliant job of drawing roller derby moves, and the techniques. She captures movement in her illustrations on a level I have not seen before. The story is well written and has layers of meaning. I learnt more about the sport and readers will learn about friendship and growing up. This book is perfect for kids about to commence high school, but it's great for big kids too!

I originally picked this up from my library, but I love it so much, I'll be buying a copy. I am hooked on the graphic genre and can't wait to bring you some more from this really cool genre.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Country girl, city girl by Lisa Jahn- Clough

country girl, city girl is about Melita a girl from the city. She goes to stay with a family who Mum knew long ago. Phoebe is the same age as Melita and having lived in the country all her life is used to and comfortable with the isolation, but a friendship grows between the pair as they share the summer on the farm. Pheobe is confused about what her feelings for this girl mean.

I was dubious about this book when I realised that they were 13/14 years of age. I wasn't sure if they could fully understand these things and I wondered how far the author could go with the story.

The author goes far enough with the theme of sexuality, but it's done really well, that I, an adult reader, could enjoy it and even take something away from it. There's a lot more to this story, than just sexuality, as Phoebe's mother died when she was a toddler and she lacks that female guidance in her life.

There's a lot going on in this book, which is a short read (under 200 pages), but the story isn't hurried. I really enjoyed this book.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Where the Stars still shine, review

 Where the stars still shine by Trish Doller. I know it's not Aussie YA as promised, but I'm waiting for some local books to become available in my library.
This is the story of Callie, whose Mum kidnapped her as a child. When her Mum is arrested she's reunited with her large extended family and for the first time experiences being settled.
I loved this book. However I must warn that this deals with adult themes and may be confronting. I don't recommend this for readers under fifteen. This book is wonderful for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. All of the characters were well developed. I would have loved to have seen one of her past issues dealt with more and for that story to be resolved. However I really enjoyed this book.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Review: The stars at Oktober bend by Glenda Millard

I was so excited to dive into The stars at October bend by Glenda Millard. Glenda is an Australian author and this book is set in country Victoria. The main characters are Alice and Manny. Alice has an acquired brain injury and struggles with her speech, but she writes some beautiful poetry which are woven into the story. Manny is from Africa and has escaped life as a boy soldier, but the memories haunt him. These two characters have a wonderful impact on each other.

The cover is stunning. The pink and blue work really well together. In the background are birds flying and they are part of the story. What really excites me is that the design doesn't end on the cover.

It continues on the inside pages with more of the black ravens and some of Alice's poetry is faded on the page as well. I just love the way design has been used in this special book.

The story is told from Manny and Alice's perspective. At first it was hard to read from Alice's perspective because it was written in accordance with her ability due to her injury, but I eased into it and her writing improves when Manny comes on the scenes. I absolutely love this story. Everyone must read this book! There's so much relevance to our lives in this story, especially with refugees on the political agenda. I cannot wait to read this again. This book is why I wanted to read more Aussie YA because these are our stories and they are told so beautifully.