Sea witch by Sarah Henning

cynthia-sea-witch.jpgA story that reimagines the beginning of the little mermaid story, full of friendship (love), revenge and magic. The pace builds throughout the story, making the second half of the story more enjoyable.

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Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina

amy catcher teller crowCatching Teller Crow is a thoroughly beautiful, captivating book. It’s a detective story, a ghost story, and an uplifting book about meaning, the power of our life stories, grief, Australia’s shameful history, and strength, particularly that of Aboriginal girls and women.

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Carve the mark by Veronica Roth

amy carve the markOne thing you can usually count on a YA series for, is a super fast pace. I raced through Divergent, which was silly in many ways, but compelling and lots of fun. I found Carve the Mark boring, for the most part, with small flashes of action or feeling, but ultimately it went nowhere exciting, and took forever to get there. Cyra and Akos are from two enemy races living on the one planet. Their fates and coincidentally compatible “current gifts” bring them together, and a little bit of confusing action, some unexciting romance, and not a lot else ensues. I may read the next book for closure, but I may not.

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The hate you give by Angie Thomas

Amy THUGThe Hate U Give is a really powerful book about the value of every life. One night, two black teenagers in the US, are pulled over by police, and one of them is shot dead. Even from the other side of the world, this is a familiar story, and this book does a great job of showing the impact of these events on the community, and society. The characters are well drawn, the complexity of the situation is well handled, and the book is as compelling as it is thought-provoking.

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Cloudwish by Fiona Wood

Amy CloudwishCloudwish is the story of a girl whose parents came to Australia by boat, after the fall of Saigon. She has a scholarship to a fancy, private school in Melbourne, and tries to find her own space in two different worlds. There’s lots of typical, coming of age issues, but also plenty of diversity, a hint of magic, a sweetly complicated romance and Jane Eyre; a lot to like about this book.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Amy Dumplin'This is cute, but not cutesy , feel-good YA. It’s about a teenaged girl named Willowdean, who lives in small town Texas and happens to be fat. She and a few other unlikely girls decide to enter the town’s great event, a beauty pageant. The setting is great, the characters are diverse, and interesting, the angst is believable and not overdone, and the romance is sweet. There aren’t a lot of body positive books out there; this is one, and it’s also a fun read.

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Words in deep blue by Cath Crowley

Amy Words in Deep BlueHowling Books is a second hand bookshop, with a collection of books for people to leave letters in. Rachel comes back to town and starts working there, with the boy she used to love. This is young adult fiction, with an Australian setting, references to so many books, sweet and complicated relationships, and not too much teenage angst. It’s about loss, connection and the power of books. There’s a lot to like.

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La belle sauvage by Phillip Pullman

Amy la belle sauvageIt has been a long time since I read His Dark Materials, and I very much enjoyed my time back in Pullman’s Brytain. A curious and thoughtful young boy lives with his parents, in a pub outside Oxford, but as he becomes involved in the life of baby Lyra, he must make a dangerous journey. It’s a magical world, in many senses, and the journey is delightful, frightening, heart-wrenching and full of wonder. I do hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next instalment.

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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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