Little story: When I was in second grade, we had this foreign exchange family move into our town from Australia, and the kids rode our bus. I LOVED talking to these two, their accents, the cool way they dressed, even their toys were different and neat. Me, being from small town Minnesota, population 407, had only ever traveled over the river to Prescott, WI. Although I can't recall the names of my new friends from down under, I distinctly remember getting off the bus pretending that I had an Aussie accent. Yes, it faded within an hour, but it was good, I tell you.
It's no surprise then that I've gotten so addicted to books from Australian authors, although I do have my good friend, Nomes, to thank for most of the gentle nudges. I have a long list of Aussie books that I want to read, and since I've been following her blog (and you have too of course, right?) I'm thinking, why not take the Aussie YA book Challenge? The idea comes from Nic over at Irresistible reads and encourages readers to read 6-12 YA Aussie books for the year 2011. Sounds easy, right? I thought so too, so here's a little sneak peek at some of the books I'm planning to read:
1. Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
The Association of Teenagers" is coming down pretty hard on Elizabeth Clarry. What is she to do when her best friend Celia keeps disappearing, her absent father suddenly reappears, and her communication with her mother consists entirely of wacky notes left on the refrigerator? And now, because her English teacher wants to rekindle the "Joy of the Envelope" in the "Age of the Internet," a complete and utter stranger knows more about Elizabeth than anyone else.
But Elizabeth is on the verge of some big changes. She is about to outgrow a friend, discover a great new friend, kiss the sexiest guy alive, and run in a marathon. Who needs "The Association of Teenagers" anyway?!
I've read a few Jaclyn Moriarty books now and I've been meaning to get around to this one. I love her quirky characters and epistolary style. I can't wait for this one!!
2. Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager
Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing ... and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago. Then she meets Ryan and Carly has to decide ... Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?
I've heard such good things about this book. And that cover. Gosh, I'd buy it for that alone.
3. Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden
When Ellie and her friends return from a camping trip in the Australian bush, they find things hideously wrong--their families are gone. Gradually they begin to comprehend that their country has been invaded and everyone in their town has been taken prisoner. As the reality of the situation hits them, they must make a decision--run and hide, give themselves up and be with
their families, or fight back.
I'm ashamed to say that I haven't read this one yet. The premise sounds so cool and it's so very popular in Australia right now what with the movie out. Please forgive me my Aussie friends!
4. The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
Thomas Mackee wants oblivion. Wants to forget parents who leave and friends he used to care about and a string of one-night stands, and favourite uncles being blown to smithereens on their way to work on the other side of the world.
But when his flatmates turn him out of the house, Tom moves in with his single, pregnant aunt, Georgie. And starts working at the Union pub with his former friends. And winds up living with his grieving father again. And remembers how he abandoned Tara Finke two years ago, after his uncle's death.
And in a year when everything's broken, Tom realises that his family and friends need him to help put the pieces back together as much as he needs them.
My god, if you don't love that cover, then what is wrong with you??? I've read the prequel to this called, Saving Francesca, and loved it. Melina Marchetta is apparently one of the best Australian YA writers out there, and I believe it too! I've read Jellicoe Road and I'm really looking forward to this one.
5. Saltwater Vampires by Kirsty Eager
For Jamie Mackie, summer holidays in the coastal town of Rocky Head mean surfing, making money, and good times at the local music festival. But this year, vampires are on the festival’s line-up … fulfilling a pact made on the wreck of the Batavia, four hundred years ago. If their plans succeed, nobody in Rocky Head will survive to see out the new year.
It's been a long time since I've read anything with "real" vampires in it and the australian twist makes this one to die for. The book cover reminds me of the movie, The Lost Boys, which I was addicted to as a pre-teen. RIP Cory Haim.
6. Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
For as long as Josephine Alibrandi can remember, it’s just been her, her mom, and her grandmother. Now it’s her final year at a wealthy Catholic high school. The nuns couldn’t be any stricter—but that doesn’t seem to stop all kinds of men from coming into her life. Caught between the old-world values of her Italian grandmother, the nononsense wisdom of her mom, and the boys who continue to mystify her, Josephine is on the ride of her life. This will be the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the secrets of her family’s past—and the year she sets herself free.
I've been told that this one is classic YA Aussie and is on recommended reading lists in Australian schools. It is definitely a must.
So what do you think of my list? I hope that I'll be able to read a few more than these six in the next year, but this will definitely cover the challenge. If you're looking to join the challenge, hop over to Nic's blog to check out it out. Then visit Inkcrush where Nomes lives - she's been doing a mini blog series interviewing other Aussie friends for their recommendations. I've been told that if you sign up before January 25th, you might just win something!! Go now, mates!
AND if you haven't entered my blogversary contest, do so now!! You've only got about a week left, folks!*
* I shall cease and desist with the exclamation points now. NOT!!!