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??

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo | Book Review

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo | Book ReviewLove and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
Published by Knopf Books For Young Readers on December 2012
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

 

 

 

 

book synopsis Amelia is 15 years old and has gotten her first job at Woolworth’s — a supermarket. She immediately encounters Chris, who is 21, and trains her on checkout and becomes her friend at work. It doesn’t take long for her to fall for him and his witty demeanor and his ability to make everyone smile. She feels like there is something there because they can talk about everything and anything — from the serious to the absurd– and there is always a constant banter between the two of them but the big hurdle is the 6 year age difference which, at times, feels like it’s a lot more than that. Amelia tries to show him that, despite the age difference, she’s right for him after all.

good books to readLove and Other Perishable Items was not at all what I pegged it to be! The cover made me just think it was going to be this ooey-gooey, will-probably-cause-cavities kind of sweet romance. Not the case! NOT AT ALL. And you know what? I loved it!! It was heartbreakingly real and honestly quite different — didn’t feel like something I’d ever read before.

It was really just one of those coming of age stories that perfectly captures that awkwardness and not always perfectly reciprocated feelings that comes with crushes and first loves. There’s that uncertainty in what the other person is thinking and the overthinking and the longings and Laura Buzo made me remember all that in Amelia’s story — especially as a girl who had a knack for picking older boys to set my sights on. Seriously, I had my own Chris situation with an older guy who was a good friend. We could talk about everything, we found each other super interesting and everything just clicked. But that pesky age difference.

Amelia’s crush on Chris really tugs at your heart. You see why she finds him so wonderful and you understand her longing. You get it. You do. But you also see the improbability in it and the fact that he might not love her in the way she would want in this time. I’m really happy that Chris wasn’t just seen through the lens of Amelia though — especially as the targets of our affection sometimes make us skew how perfect we see people. Having the Chris chapters helped to balance out my view of him and really made me see him as a PERSON and see the other side of the encounters and his motives in everything. It honestly made me crush on him a bit even knowing all his flaws.

But I loved that this book was only half about the romance and the other half was really Amelia coming of age (which essentially the “love story” was just really woven into that). She’s smart, witty and very observant and I loved being in her brain sometimes because she made me think as she tries to grapple with things like feminism and what it means (a little reminiscent of Frankie), her mother’s unhappiness, her family, etc. I loved the conversations she and Chris would have about quirky things and about the messiness of life.

That ending was perfectly satisfying and made tears well up in my eyes big time but, at the same time, I selfishly wanted MORE. I need a crystal ball to see the future of this story for sure. Not just for the romance but because I want to see the kind of extraordinary young woman I know Amelia would grow up to be. I’d read a novel about her as a twenty or thirty something for sure!

 

book reviewsLove and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo was a quietly beautiful coming of age story about the stickiness of crushes and first love but also just about all the facets of growing up –finding your place, seeing the imperfectness in the world and your family, etc. It’s a slim and unassuming book whose cover might lead you to believe this is some ooey-gooey, sweet as candy love story but it was definitely more than that. I really, really loved it and highly recommend. It was surprisingly emotional and will have you reminiscing back to your first crush/love — especially if you ever felt something for someone a bit older than you like I did!

short book review

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

 

books you may also likeGraffiti Moon by Cath Crowley | The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read Love & Other Perishable Items? Heard of it? Did you love it like I did or have different feelings? What did you think about the ending? Was it satisfying to you or no? And because I’m curious, did any of you, like me, have your own Chris situation??
The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

four-half-stars

Review: Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager

Title/Author: Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager
Publisher: Penguin Australia
How I Got The Book: Linds from Bibliophile Brouhaha let a bunch of bloggers  borrow it for an imformal blog tour because it’s that awesome!

After a horrific event happens that will alter Carly’s life tremendously, she drops out of university and spends her days surfing and working at a local cafe as a cook. She’s found her rhythm in this life away from her family and her old friends and has put up a wall to meeting new people. When Carly meets Ryan, a fellow surfer, she struggles to deal with the past and to decide if she’ll let those walls crumble.

Raw Blue. Wow. I didn’t know what to expect with this one. Right away I knew it wasn’t going to be a light beach read despite it’s amazing setting in an Australian surf town. It’s gritty, raw and will make you think a lot about why people build up the walls that they do. I think it also does give you some glimmer of hope in the end that things will change and get better. You can work through even the most horrible of circumstances. Hidden under the pain and emotion of this book, I think you’ll find that hope I think.

First, I loved Carly. I love that she was a real person to me.  Most of the book is really in her head but I think that’s what made this story so powerful. There was some action that moved the story around and really added to it…it was all very intentional and essentail to the story. I think for some people it could move slowly if you are more into fast moving stories but I found myself moving through it very quickly and really cared to know what happened to Carly. I also love that she is dating someone who quite a few years older than her. I feel like a lot of YA lit (at least what I’ve encountered) doesn’t ever show really healthy relationships with an older guy when it really is not that uncommon to have an 18 year old date a 26 year old. Speaking of that, I freaking loved Ryan. I can see him being the apple of many a YA readers eye.

I think the setting was so unique. I love when I read a book from a perspective that I’ve never personally seen before. I know nothing about what the life of a surfer is like but I really found myself believing her passion and being interested in the surfing culture. Sometimes during the surf talk and the descriptions of things made my eyes glaze over but for the most part I truly enjoyed them and felt like it added to the story. The world that Carly created around her surfing was her safe haven..and I could feel that and understand how she threw herself into that after what had happened to her.

A few things to note: there was a lot more sex and swearing in this book than I’ve encountered in most YA. It didn’t bother me but I know that it might bother some people so I figured I’d point that out. I’d definitely recommend this for older YAs.

My Final Thought: I would definitely recommend this for readers who are looking for a little bit of more mature YA read. The two main characters are 18 and 26 so it’s the perfect read for those looking for somewhere in between the young adult and adult perspective. Raw Blue was one of those books you’ll find yourself emotionally invested in without even realizing it. There was just the right amount of “drama” and love and growth…it really was just such a fantastic YA read. It’s a shame more people haven’t read it as it hasn’t been published in the US!

 And now I’m curious…what other YA books have you read with older protags?

*Will add my Review on a Post-It later…it’s not loading here at work!!*

four-stars
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