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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Because you’ll never meet me by Leah Thomas

Because you'll never meet me by Leah ThomasA debut novel for Leah Thomas this story is a very unusual exploration of a friendship between two teens who will never meet. Contact with electricity sends Ollie into debilitating seizures, while Moritz has no eyes, a heart defect and is kept alive by an electronic pacemaker. Written as series of letters, the story plays with the emotional connection between the two boys as they try to deal with adolescence and the revelation of their shared past, a past filled with experimentation at THE LAB. This book, although contemporary in nature, has elements of evolving supernatural powers, so you do need to sacrifice logic. If you like this you might like quirky literary quality of Mosquitoland by David Arnold and  Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. Students might also like to consider this book for their HSC AOS –Discovery.

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One true thing by Nicole Hayes

One true thing by Nicole HayesA story of contrasts from the viewpoint of a politician’s teen whose life seems to be public property. I felt Frankie’s distress as the power of the media tried to pull a happy family apart. Events escalate, depriving Frankie of her music, her friends and her boyfriend. I was torn for Frankie once she discovered her mother’s secret. She equally admired the love and commitment of her parents and fumed at their inaction.  I won’t tell you the secret because it is the basis for the story. Just know that the secret is not what the media has made it out to be and when it is revealed you will find yourself taking sides. Continue reading

Geek girl by Holly Smale

Geek Girl by Holly SmaleIf you like to read about normal people then this book is for you. From geek to chic and back again because it’s ‘not so bad after all’ Harriet Manners is a smart teenager but can’t understand why others at school despise her. Will a modelling deal change their attitude? Is this the way she wants to earn the respect of the mean people around her? And does she really want their respect? Filled with humour and romance, this book is about realising your full potential through your own eyes, not the eye of a camera.

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The first third byWilliam Kostakis

The first third by Will KostakisLife is made up of three parts: in the first third of your life you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made.

Seventeen year old Billy Tsiolkas has just received his grandmother Yiayia Filyo’s bucket list, which makes him realise that she will not be around forever to keep his family together. The list is nearly impossible to complete, and even more daunting with final exams, first kisses and a future in stand-up comedy interrupting most of his plans. Luckily for Billy, he has his best friend Sticks, (my favourite character) a growing friendship with Hayley and, to give him some invaluable advice, his grandmother… but for how long?

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