When Dimple met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Amy When Dimple met RishiDimple and Rishi are Indian-American teens whose parents think should get married, and they meet for the first time at a University’s summer program. It’s a sweet love story, with really interesting cultural detail, a little predictable, and sometimes silly, but a quick, fun, read.

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Code name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Amy Code Name VerityI do love novels set during WWII, and this may be my first young adult WWII story. It begins as a written confession from Queenie, who has been captured in France, and she tells the story of how she and her best friend Maddie, a pilot, ended up there. There’s a lot about being a pilot, some of what it was to be a woman in the air force, and about the French resistance. Though torture is involved, there is little gory detail, and the book is gently amusing at times, and is a great story of friendship and loyalty.

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Love like water by Meme McDonald

Amy Love Like WaterSet in Alice Springs, during the 80s, Love Like Water is about Cathy, a young white woman looking for a new life after a loss, and Jay, an Aboriginal DJ, trying to find a way to survive. It’s a typical, very Australian, coming of age story, with the added stresses of racial tension and the pressures Indigenous people face. The setting is harsh, but beautiful, and the physical and emotional landscapes are poetically and movingly described.

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Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Amy DeliriumI do enjoy racing through a dystopian young adult trilogy. Certainly the premise, in this case that love is a disease that must be cured, generally doesn’t stand up to serious thought, but the action, characters and relationships are compelling. I am not enjoying the setting as much as in other series, but I am definitely keen to find out what happens next (it pays to read these series once they are completed) so will move straight on to Pandemonium.

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The outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Amy The OutsidersI must have watched the film a lot, as a teenager, because I have never read the book before, but the dialogue came flooding back. It’s the story of Ponyboy Curtis (yes, really), a fourteen year old boy from the wrong side of the tracks. He and his family and friends are ‘greasers’, and they are in conflict with the ‘socs’. One night Ponyboy and his friend are cornered, and a soc is killed, whichleads to more tragedy. It’s typical teenage angst, in some ways, but ultimately, it encourages us to understand others; to see that everyone has their struggles and not to give in.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

amy-divergentI borrowed the movie first to watch with my teenaged daughter, a bonding thing, and enjoyed it enough to give the books a go. Divergent is a Young Adult, dystopian series with a kind of silly premise. Everyone belongs to a faction where they emphasise one quality over all the others, and our heroine doesn’t fit just one mold.  The story and language aren’t sophisticated, in fact I think the film did a better job of explaining some aspects, but it is certainly engaging. It was nice to read of a teenaged girl’s struggles being more about right and wrong, who she is and should be, than about which boy to love. I couldn’t have a steady diet of this sort of thing, but I really enjoyed it and will finish the series.

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Everything, everything by Nicola Yoon

amy-everything-everythingEverything, Everything is the story of an eighteen year old girl who is allergic to the world. She lives with her mother in quiet, sterile seclusion, reading her books, until new neighbours move in. It’s a coming of age love story, very easy and quick to read. It is sweet and keeps teenaged angst to a minimum. The resolution was a bit unsatisfying for me, but I can see why it would be popular with fans of young adult fiction.

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In a world just right by Jen Brooks

In a world just right by Jen BrooksI took forever to read this book… possibly because this contemporary YA fantasy was not ‘just right’ for me. I did not start getting emotionally connected with the characters until chapter 24 when Brooks took my expectations and turned them upside down. Jonathan Aubrey is a world maker; making worlds to escape the pain of reality. These living, breathing worlds, once set in motion, continue on their own. Jonathan blinks between worlds in his search to find peace. However, his pain comes from losing his family, yet he never makes a world which includes them. Unable to face seeing them he focusses on his childhood infatuation for Kylie and makes her love him in an alternate world but watches from afar in the original world… until the worlds collide.  A debut novel for Jen Brooks and an author well worth keeping an eye on because of her unusual plot idea. Students might like to consider this book for their HSC AOS –Discovery. You can find more suggestions in our catalogue.

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A great and terrible beauty by Libba Bray

Amy A Great and Terrible BeautyI was on the verge of abandoning this book, it really didn’t hold me, but I kept going just in case. After beginning in India, it is set in Victorian England where Gemma Doyle has been sent to a stuffy finishing school after her mother’s mysterious death. Gemma and her friends discover a way into a different realm and struggle with that power, and the evil that awaits. It wasn’t quite convincingly Victorian, or English, enough for me; the girls were too modern, but the real problem was that I didn’t find the plot that exciting. Plenty of nasty girls and angst plus a little bit of mystery, magic and steamy dreaming. I’ll give the rest a miss.

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