Aussie YA 101

Top Ten Tuesday, as  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Top Ten Books I’d Put On My Aussie YA 101 Syllabus (should someone entrust me to teach them anything)

I don’t know what it is about Aussie YA but they are some of my FAVORITE books in existence. They have some of the best and most unique things I’ve read plus I always feel like their characterizations are just THE BEST EVER. I can’t even tell you.

So if you are wanting to dip your toes in the Aussie YA waters…here are some of my favorites as of right now that I’d put on my “syllabus” if I were teaching an Aussie YA class.  Basically this class could be just Marchetta and Marchetta alone but I DO super love other Aussie books!

Australian fiction YA

All the Melina Marchetta contemporaries: Seriously, her books are some of my ALL TIME FAVORITES — Saving Francesca, The Piper’s Son and Jellicoe Road. (I have not read Looking For Alibrandi yet but I have no doubt it is amazing).

The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta: As of right now this is my all time favorite fantasy series that is finished! Melina Marchetta is just my queen. (my series review)

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley: Ah I loved this book so much! From my review:Graffiti Moon is one of those that hit me over the head and yet subtly invaded my heart all at the same time with its dazzling prose,  heartwarming (and at times heartbreaking) story of love in its many forms and a strong visual sense of the adventure they are having all across the city in a single night.”

Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager: Oh this book. MY HEART. Also the beach setting and the surfing. YAS. (My review of Raw Blue)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: One of the best books I’ve ever read!

I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak: His lesser known book when compared to The Book Thief but I loved Ed Kennedy and this story! (My review of I Am the Messenger)

Girl Defective by Simmone Howell: This one just got published her last year and I really enjoyed it. It was a quirky read that I adored! I need to read Simmone’s other books because all my Aussie friends love them. (my review of Girl Defective)
Wildlife by Fiona Wood: Another Aussie book I had been wanting and finally got published here! LOVED this one so much and the outdoorsy setting! Can’t wait to read the companion novel to it (that weirdly was published FIRST in Australia…but this one was published first here and Six Impossible Things is being published soon). — My review of Wildlife

Love & Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo (also loved her book Good Oil aka Holier Than Thou): If you need a pretty strong plot, I’d skip this one. But oh man did I love this one. Such a great character driven book that made me FEEL SO MANY THINGS. (my review of Love & Other Perishable Items)

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty: This is such a offbeat, quirky fantasy novel and I really enjoyed it. I’ve heard AMAZING things about her other books which I think she is MORE known for than this one.


So tell me…what Aussie books MUST I read?? What books have you read from this list??

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. If you love Aussie YA, I think you might like the Every Trilogy by Ellie Marney. They are just so good. Also Masquerade by Kylie Fornasier

    • I’ve been wanting to read the Every Trilogy!! Gotta get on that soon! Never heard of Masquerade but def checking it out! Thank you!!

  2. Ahh, I love your topic! I’ve been wanting to get into more Aussie YA, especially since I’ve loved both Finnikin of the Rock and The Book Thief. I still need to finish The Lumatere and read Melina’s contemporaries (I’ve heard such amazing things about them all). But oh man, I see Graffiti Moon and now I’m kicking myself for not grabbing it when I saw it at a thrift store I went to a couple weeks ago. I almost bought it, but at the last minute, changed my mind. I will be giving it a second thought now! I’m glad to hear you loved it and recommend. I’ve heard of a few of these, but not all of them. I’m pretty sure I have Wildlife and Six Impossible Things on my TBR. They both sound good!

    Thanks for all of these great recommendations! 🙂

    • AHH NO. You should have grabbed it!! I totally second guess myself when buying books on a whim though! Hope you get some more Aussie YA in your life!! AND YES GO READ MARCHETTA’S CONTEMPORARIES

  3. The Protected by Claire Zorn – amazing novel!

  4. What an awesome take on this week’s topic! I’ve never tried Aussie YA (that I know of), but now I’m definitely interested! Happy reading! 🙂

  5. I’ve read most of these books guess that means I could pass Aussie 101. Yay!

    My 101 TTT

  6. I’ve enjoyed some really great Aussie YAs in the past, some of which made your list. I’ll definitely be checking some of the others out. If I was to add any, I’d add some of John Marsden’s books.

    • Ooh I feel like I’ve heard of him! Will check his books out! I think they published one of his books at Scholastic in recent years?

  7. I’ve read and loved the majority of these, so good choosing, Jamie! I also put Jellicoe Road and Raw Blue on my TTT post! I’m starting to wish I’d also put Saving Francesca on it. But who are we kidding? There should be a Melina Marchetta class. MM all the time and it would be everyone’s favourite period!

    Oh, and you REALLY need to read Friday Never Leaving by Vikki Wakefield. Loved it SO MUCH and is a close second fave behind Jellicoe. Convinced yet?

    • ALL MARCHETTA ALL THE TIME. In depth analysis of all her amazing characters!!! I might actually do the homework!!

      OOH I’ve had that on my TBR for some time. NEED TO GET IT!!!!

  8. I’ve been looking for more Aussie YA so thanks for these! 😀

  9. I definitely need to read some Melina Marchetta. I see you rave about her books all of the time. It needs to be done!

  10. OMG I never knew Melina Marchetta’s books were Aussie! MINDBLOWN! Definitely bumping some of these books up on my TBR!

  11. I second what Angel said – you DEFINITELY need to read the Every series by Ellie Marney! I’d also recommend John Marsden’s Tomorrow When the War Began series, Jessica Shirvington’s Disruption duology, and Catherine Jinks’ City of Orphans trilogy, though that’s middle grade, not YA. Oh, and Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy!

  12. As an Aussie I’m sad to say I know only Markus Zusak…

    Check out the Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody, and Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden.

    • Ooh haven’t heard of the first (will check out!) but the John Marsden has been recced quited a few times in these comments already so DEFINITELY checking that out!


  14. You absolutely have to read Graffiti Moon!! It’s so so good and the audio is also amazing!! She was the first aussie author I fell in love with!

  15. I recently read an ARC of Alison Goodman’s latest book. I now what to go back and read Eon and Eona. I would add her to your list purely on the strength of the one book so far – that’s how impressed I was!

  16. Great beginner list, Jamie. I lived in Australia for 5 months to study at university, and I would add to your list John Marsden’s TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN series, Lili Wilkinson (PINK, & her delightful younger-YA A POCKETFUL OF EYES), OBERNEWTYN by Isobelle Carmody (you’d be so into this fantasy series), Steph Bowe’s BOY SAVES GIRL, this trilogy I became obsessed with/you can buy on Amazon/it’s crazycats with bats and dark underworlds and endless parties (no really they take pills to stay awake for hours) called BURN BRIGHT by Marianne de Pierres, Jessica Shrivington’s series if you are into vampires (I think it’s called ENDLESS?), THIS IS SHYNESS by Leanne Hall, MERCY by Rebecca Lim, Shirley Marr’s FURY (think Heathers meets Courtney Summers, bam!!!), anything by Justine Larbalaster (she is married to Scott Westerfeld but they live part-time in Australia for a reason…she’s Australian!), BEAUTIFUL MALICE by Rebecca James, BEING BINDY by Alyssa Brugman, BEATLE MEETS DESTINY by Gabrielle Williams, JOEL AND CAT SET THE STORY STRAIGHT by Nick Earls, RAINCHECK ON TIMBUKTU by Kirsten Murphy and holy cats I have a paragraph here…..going to stop. LOL Feel free to ask for other recs later. Or never. #FutureLibrarianProblems

  17. All the book son your list automatically go onto my TBR since you put Melina Marchetta on your list. I look forward to reading them all!

    • YASSSS. That makes me happy. I think, out of all of these, after Marchetta my favorite one is Graffiti Moon. I still need to read her other book A Little Wanting Song!

  18. I actually haven’t read any Aussie YA. He he… sorry. At least I have this great list for me to check out some books!

  19. After a list like this, I feel ashamed to say I haven’t read ANY Aussie YA books. Not even Book Thief which I have no excuse for because I always see it at the library and basically every where book related. I think I’ll slowly start going through some Melina Marchetta books because of your enthusiasm, which one would you suggest first? 😀

    • Ooh man! I love them all!! I would say start with Saving Francesca and then read Piper’s Son (a companion of sorts but you totally don’t have to read SF to read that one) and THEN Jellicoe Road which is the most brilliant book I’ve ever read. It’s slow at first and kind of confusing but once it comes together you are like OMG OMG OMG. I can’t even think about it. Also, Idk if you like fantasy but Finnikin is def a must first if it’s your jam! The books just get so much better it’s ridiculous. It’s definitely a less action packed fantasy but the characters. I WAS BAWLING FINISHING THIS SERIES BC I DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE THEM.

      • Once you promise crying because you don’t want to leave the characters that kind of just sold the deal. Now I HAVE to read Finnikin, which is great because I actually love Fantasy a lot. And thank you for the suggestions, I will go write those down right now 🙂

  20. I didn’t realise Markus Zukas was Australian. I still need to read The book thief but it’s on my list. Great choice for a syllabus.

    Megan @

  21. I have a lot of appreciation for Aussie YA! There’s really something that does set it apart from other contemporary novels, though I can’t quite put my finger on it. But yes to the Marchetta love, yes to Graffiti Moon and yes to Wildlife and Six Impossible Things!

    • We need to sit down and figure this out…this magical quality it has. Because when I try to explain it I come up with the same thing CANNOT EVEN PUT MY FINGER ON IT…IT JUST IS.

  22. I’ve read THE BOOK THIEF & LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLES. The Book Thief made it on my top ten list too!

    • AH THAT BOOK. Did you watch the movie?? I thought obviously the book was WAY better…but for book to movie adaptations I was pleased. I was very moved to see an older gentleman in the theater crying a bit during it. I’m like thinking OH BUDDY YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS COMING.

  23. Yes to Melina Marchetta all the time! I like the titles that you’ve included in your list. I would recommend All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield and the Touchstone trilogy (which is sci-fi) by Andrea K. Host. I’ve also heard good things about Melissa Kiel’s books and I have two of them in my TBR pile.

    • Ooh thank you for the recs! I’ve had Vikki Wakefield on my list but haven’t been able to snag those yet! MUST MAKE IT A PRIORITY!

  24. I’m loving all the unique subgenres like yours that this week’s theme is pulling out! My TTT

  25. this makes my aussie self quite happy. when i was younger, i was the opposite of patriotic lol and hated all things australian. we were forced to read looking for alibrandi in high school (and then watch the movie) and i absolutely hated it. i recently read saving francesca and my heart almost burst with love. i’m putting off looking for alibrandi for awhile because i’m not sure my teenage self can handle it haha. the lumatere chronicles is next on my list!

  26. I approve these choices. Speaking of Aussie YA, have you read The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee? Because you must!

  27. The Book Thief is one of my favourite books ever!

  28. The only Aussie YA I’ve read is the Every trilogy by Ellie Marney, which I LOVE so I definitely want to try more! Your list looks like a great starting point 🙂 I also have Life In Outer Space by Melissa Kiel, which I randomly found at work one day. Love your list Jamie!

    • GAH I NEED TO GET THIS ONE!!! I also have Life In Outer Space and need to read it! Hope you enjoy some Aussie reads soon!!

  29. I *still* need to read Raw Blue! I’ve had Wildlife on my TBR for a while now too. I love Aussie books!

  30. Clearly I need to read some Melina Marchetta because I’ve heard such great things about Finniki of the Rock and I have Jellicoe Road somewhere in my Kindle library!

    As for what Aussie I’d recommend you to read… I’m sure I’m gonna repeat something others have said but Ellie Marney Every series (Sherlock sort of retelling) is BRILLIANT and also the Rephaim series by Paula Weston!! My fave angels series hands down! And I usually don’t like books about angels!


      I really need to read Ellie Marney’s books! Esp since I LOVE Sherlock! Ooh and def checking out the Rephaim series!! I trust you!

  31. Of these books, I’ve only read The Book Thief (was was amazing), although I do own Finnikin of the Rock but haven’t yet read a Melina Marchetta book! Eep!

    • AHHH my Marchetta loving heart is hurting! Do your reading life a favor…feed it Marchetta! 😛

      The Book Thief is one of my all time favorites. I have never felt completely gutted by a book until I read that one! I remember just sobbing in my bed at like 3am like WHAT EVEN IS LIFE.

  32. Ahhh! RAW BLUE!!! Yes. Ugh this book though.

    ALSO, you really need to read A Little Wanting Song and the Gracie Faltrain books by Cath Crowley. They are most excellent.

    And I *still* haven’t finished a Marchetta book, haha. Oops.

    • I wish more people read Raw Blue!! It’s so brilliant. Did you see she has a new book coming out???

      I have been wanting to read A Little Wanting Song for sure but now this is my reminder to get my ass in gear!! I haven’t heard as much about the Gracie Faltrain books but I trust you!!

      Haha I will let your lack of Marchetta love slide ONLY BECAUSE YOU ARE YOU! 😛

  33. You Should read these as well if you enjoy YA that takes place in Australia
    The Anatomy of Wings
    by Karen Foxlee

    The Midnight Dress
    by Karen Foxlee

    My ttt

  34. I haven’t read any of these, though Jellicoe Road is on my TBR shelf still. *sigh*

  35. It’s my deep shame that I lived in Australia for 5 years but never read any of its YA D: Except for Tomorrow When The War Began! The Book Thief has been on my TBR list for ages, but I’m adding the rest of this list too 😀

    • Haha! You should definitely check out some of the YA! I would say go Marchetta first. She’s the one I always rec to my friends who don’t read YA. Soooo many people recommended Tomorrow When The War Begin in these comments so now I NEED IT.

  36. This should totally be a class! Another Aussie author I love is Margo Lanagan.