Young Adult

Young Adult

Gus and the Missing Boy by Troy Hunter

Reviewed by Rod McLary Gus and the Missing Boy successfully blends the features of a detective story with the tropes of a YA novel.  Through the course of this novel, the author canvasses the existential issues facing thirteen-year-old Gus as he struggles with caring for his seriously injured mother, the vicissitudes of being gay and

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Young Adult

Borderland by Graham Akhurst

Reviewed by Rod McLary This new novel by Aboriginal writer and academic from the Kokomini of northern Queensland Graham Akhurst is a genre-bending tour-de-force which is certain to fully engage the demographic [older teenagers] for whom it is written and many others as well. The central protagonist is Jonathan Lane [usually called Jono] who is

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Young Adult

This by Lazaros Zigomanis

Reviewed by Rod McLary The relevance of the title of this new book by Lazaros Zigomanis becomes clear in the last few paragraphs of this deeply personal and authentic tale of an un-named fifteen-year-old Greek boy.  While essentially fiction, the author states in the Acknowledgements that he ‘grew up with mental health issues through the

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Young Adult

The Prince and the Apocalypse by Kara McDowell

Reviewed by Rod McLary Who doesn’t enjoy a romance – especially when it involves a brash American girl and an heir to the English throne?  Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?  But in this story, there is a further element – an impending apocalypse. Narrated in the first person by Wren Wheeler – eighteen years

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Young Adult

They Hate Each Other by Amanda Woody

Reviewed by Rod McLary Who doesn’t enjoy a good romance?  Especially when the protagonists – at least initially – seem to dislike each other, but by the conclusion of the book or film, end up together.  One only needs to think of Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen or Rex Harrison and

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Young Adult

HappyHead by Josh Silver

Reviewed by Rod McLary The great late crime novelist P. D. James once said ‘all fiction is largely autobiographical’ and this observation is borne out by Josh Silver’s debut novel HappyHead.  The author says [in ‘Josh Silver – in his own words’ at the conclusion of the novel] that, like his protagonist Seb Seaton, he

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Young Adult

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend Wow! The Iron Widow is a wild Young Adult read.  Xiran Jay Zhao expands on concepts drawn from a range of pop culture and Chinese mythology to deliver an imaginative Sc Fi retelling of the only female emperor in Chinese history – Wu Zetian.  In this, Zhao powerfully forwards the idea

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Young Adult

The Lorikeet Tree by Paul Jennings

Reviewed by Gerard Healy This is a Young Adult novel with dollops of darkness mixed in with some light. The story centres on fifteen-year-old Emily and her twin brother Alex, who live with their ailing father on a rural property outside Warrnambool, Victoria. Now the author of this fine little book is Paul Jennings and

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Young Adult

Something about Alaska by J. A. Cooper

Reviewed by Rod McLary There is something about Young Adult novels which immediately appeals to the discerning reader.  Perhaps the appeal lies in the authenticity of the adolescent voice which hasn’t yet learned to dissemble and obfuscate.  Perhaps it is the lived experience of navigating the no man’s land between childhood and adulthood which we

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Young Adult

The Rider on the Bridge by Scott Pearce

Reviewed by Rod McLary This engaging novel, The Rider on the Bridge, opens with the narrator re-telling a story told to him of a young boy riding his bike – for a fee – blindfolded across a bridge.  The narrator informs the reader that ‘the absence of truth does not diminish the story’ [8]; the

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Young Adult

That Thing I Did by Allayne L. Webster

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend Concepts planted in our psyche through music and other media unconsciously inform what we create. p. 278 A master class in presenting serious themes with a feather light touch.   And so very funny! Allayne Webster’s That Thing I Did has all the elements of an intriguing young-adult novel – four young

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Young Adult

Only a Monster by Vanessa Len

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend A female protagonist who is half-English half-Chinese and half-monster half-human, a hoard of full-blood monsters, the protagonist’s human, monster-slaying love interest, and time travel!   Such are the elements of Vanessa Len’s debut Young Adult novel, Only A Monster.  Ambitious, to say the least! Vanessa Len writes that she was interested in

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Young Adult

Golden Boys by Phil Stamper

Reviewed by Rod McLary The ‘golden boys’ are four queer [the term used by the author] sixteen-year-old boys living in a small town in rural Ohio – and who are best friends.  Gabriel, Reese, Sal and Heath are at the end of their penultimate school year and about to begin their spring break.  But instead

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Young Adult

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

Reviewed by E. B. Heath Ruta Sepetys is a celebrated writer of historical fiction and a world-class ambassador for human dignity.  Her books are written with the intent of giving voice to populations who suffered through cruel totalitarian regimes but are under-represented in historical records.  She is categorized as a ‘crossover’ novelist, valued by both

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Young Adult

You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke The reader of this latest book by Kathleen Glasgow is told that more than twenty million people in the United States struggle with substance abuse each year…that statistic begins with users at age twelve…and that’s only what has been documented (379). The author who, in her first book Girl in Pieces,

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