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Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles 1)

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The opening chapter of this book is extraordinary. As is the whole. The writing is clever, and visceral, and bloody, and emotional. I loved every word. And Holter Graham is a great reader, too.
No plot, no character analysis. I fear there will be spoilers.
I will say…Mia Corvere is my hero.
Just read it.

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No Limits

No LimitsNo Limits by Ellie Marney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Just…wow. Marney really raises the bar in this companion book to the Every series. Harris and Amie are spot on, clearly and fully realised as living breathing people. Although only vaguely known to each other – country Victoria can be a small world – they are thrown together by circumstances, and both are struggling with that terrifying time between being a teenager and becoming an adult. Choices to be made. Things to be discovered about themselves and the world around them. Part thriller, part romance. All class. Highly, highly recommended.

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The Most Important Thing: Stories of Sons, Fathers and Grandfathers

The Most Important Thing: : Stories about Sons, Fathers and GrandfathersThe Most Important Thing: : Stories about Sons, Fathers and Grandfathers by Avi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some stories are more successfully executed than others, but overall, this is an insightful collection of stories about male family relationships. Covering a wide range of scenarios, Avi explores the dynamics of the successful and not-so-successful interactions in everyday life. Some are poignant, some are infuriating, and all feel authentic.
Recommended for middle-school readers – Yr 5-9.

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Blossom

BlossomBlossom by Tamsin Janu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s lots to like about this story. Lottie is a sweetie. She’s had a lot to contend with in her life so far, and when a waif in a potato sack appears on her doorstep, Lottie knows exactly what to do – take her in and love her fiercely.
Parts of the plot are very thin, but, overall, it’s a good middle years story.

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#LoveOzYA – a cause for celebration

(Originally written for the CBCA Vic in 2015, but it seems to have “dropped off” the inter webs – so I give myself permission to republish it (and edit it) here!)

At the 2015 Reading Matters conference, in a storm of twitter moments, there was a tiny moment that created a ripple. In the scheme of things, a single tweet over a two-day conference wouldn’t normally create much of a stir beyond the attendees and followers on the day.

The first incidence of the #LoveOzYA hashtag appears to have been in a conversation started in February of 2014 by the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria.

Youth Literature ‏‪@CentreYouthLit 13 Feb 2014

So many YA romance lists, so little in the way of Australian titles.  Let’s start brainstormin’ using ‪#loveOZYA

There was a bit of interest in the tag, with followers sharing their favourite book titles and photos. But when Emily Gale tweeted out a question about promoting and celebrating Australian YA books at SLV Reading Matters 2015, it hit a nerve with both the attendees and the tweeting public.

EmilyGale ‏‪@EmilyGale May 26

‪@elliemarney@AnnaNotKarenina @nichmelbourne Meantime, how about we all post a stack of OZYA & use #buyorborrowaussieya (see my Instagram)?

In the ensuing discussion, which included input from Nicole Hayes and Anna Burkey, Ellie Marney tweeted this:

elliemarney ‏‪@elliemarney May 26

‪@AnnaNotKarenina@EmilyGale @nichmelbourne #bbbozya #buybegborrowozya #loveozya ?

By the next day, the #LoveOzYA hashtag was trending in Australia. And it had another surge recently.  Link here.

In the months since, Readings has held a #LoveOzYA panel discussion, publishers are using the tag to promote their lists, and a Facebook group has been started to talk about ways that Australian YA novels can be brought to the attention of readers in Australia and around the world. Through the group, Trinity Doyle (author of Pieces of Sky) created a poster based on recommendations that Danielle Binks made in an article for the online journal “Kill Your Darlings”, which then became a series of posts on her blog. And in school libraries, staff are using the hashtag in their displays, both alone and in combination with other initiatives, such as the CBCA Books Light Up Our World.

Regardless of the genesis of the tag, it seems that #LoveOzYA is being embraced by all sectors of the community that brings YA fiction to young people. How will you be celebrating OzYA? For ideas you can ask to join the Facebook group, follow the #LoveOzYA tag on Twitter or Instagram, and try searching on the web. Can’t wait to see your work!

#LoveOzYA on twitter:

Danielle Binks @danielle_binks

Anna Burkey @AnnaNotKarenina

Centre for Youth Literature @CentreYouthLit

Trinity Doyle @trinja

Emily Gale @EmilyGale

Nicole Hayes @nichmelbourne

Ellie Marney @elliemarney

 

#LoveOzYA on the web:

Poster link – https://www.dropbox.com/sh/r7i18n4gc658q42/AACFOrMPQdlglpHktK-isTiCa?dl=0

Kill Your Darlings article link – http://www.killyourdarlingsjournal.com/2015/07/loveozya/

Danielle’s blog “Bookstore Panel recap” – http://alphareader.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/loveozya-readings-bookstore-panel-recap.html

Trending Australia tweet link – https://twitter.com/trendinaliaAU/status/620878419027324928/photo/1

Thanks to CYL, Danielle, Ellie, and Emily for permission to use their tweets and blog posts!

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The Elephant

The ElephantThe Elephant by Peter Carnavas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, this is divine. Just the most beautiful, beautiful, book. So much heart, so thoughtful, such a wonderful twist in the tale. 5 glorious, wonderful, colourful stars!

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Still Life with Tornado

Still Life With TornadoStill Life With Tornado by A.S. King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars
I’ll tell you straight up, this isn’t my favourite A.S. King book, but it’s still pretty good. The main character in this book, Sarah, is pretty messed up. She’s dropped out of school (it’s unclear why), she’s withdrawn from her family (also unclear why), and she’s seeing alternate realities (really unclear why). This is a book that deals with really, really angsty stuff, so no spoilers. Eventually, it all becomes clear.
What really dissatisfied me about this book was that I felt that King didn’t go in hard enough. There was obviously something really crap that happened in Sarah’s past, but it took too long to reveal it, and not enough time working on a resolution. So, for me, the timing was off.
Sarah was a pretty annoying protagonist, in that King had her dance around the issues again and again. The story was circular, and repetitive, and, at the end, largely unresolved.
Characters are great, as usual. Multidimensional and realistic (although get ready to suspend disbelief at times), and I would have loved to see more of Sarah’s brother, as he felt like the only person that had a handle on reality.
If you’ve never read an A.S. King, start with this one.

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