As you may know, I am Australian.
And I absolutely LOVE the Australian YA community. It’s so tight-knit and supportive and just wonderful. Recently the hashtag #LoveOzYA has gained some traction on Twitter. Then Danielle Binks on her blog Alpha Reader wrote a post called Readalikes, where she recommended some Australian YA books based on bestselling US ones. You can find that post here.
Danielle encouraged others to join in, so today I’m here to recommend some awesome Aussie YA books!
THE NAME OF THE STAR by Maureen Johnson // EVERY BREATH by Ellie Marney
Both books are about crime – while The Name of the Star deals with the Ripper legend, Every Breath is a Sherlock Holmes-type crime series. It’s very real and action-packed and I absolutely love it. Don’t be deceived by the somewhat questionable cover and title – it’s AMAZING. If you loved The Name of the Star for its great main character and a crime legend brought back to life, you’ll love the Every series.
THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand // THE PROTECTED by Claire Zorn
There are a lot of similarities between these two books. They’re both really hard-hitting and emotional (The Protected actually made me cry, no joke). The main characters are both grieving a sibling who has died, and in both books there are flashbacks to the time before.
I actually liked The Protected a lot better than The Last Time We Say Goodbye, because there’s something about Aussie YA that always feels so real to me.
SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli // THE FLYWHEEL by Erin Gough
Oh gosh, I adore BOTH of these books. They feature LGBTQ+ main characters (Simon’s gay and Delilah’s a lesbian) and they handle it SO WELL and with SUCH ADORABLENESS. They’re both really funny and they tell the story in really unique formats (The Flywheel has cool graphs and stuff). They’re both quirky and fun reads, but really emotional as well.
THE PRINCESS DIARIES by Meg Cabot // THE INTERN by Gabrielle Tozer
Okay, so, the plots of these two have absolutely NOTHING IN COMMON. But bear with me – the main characters in both are quite similar in a lot of ways and I really relate to both Mia and Josie (the main character of The Intern). They’re both a bit lost and confused with the world, not to mention clumsy and awkward a lot of the time. But they’ve both got a lot of spunk and heart, and they go after their dreams.
Plus, there is a lot of girl power featured in both. And also The Intern is one of my favourite books ever so just do me a favour and read it, okay? Okay.
SPLINTERED by A. G. Howard // FAIRYTALES FOR WILDE GIRLS by Allyse Near
In different ways, these are both excellent dark fairytale retellings. Well, not that Fairytales for Wilde Girls is a retelling. It’s kind of a fairytale in its own right. But ALSO if you loved The Darkest Part of the Forest, you will love this one – the writing is INCREDIBLE and it’s so magical and dark and just brilliant. There are brother-princes and girls in bird cages and it’s very gothic and excellent.
You can thank me later.
PIVOT POINT by Kasie West // BETWEEN THE LIVES by Jessica Shirvington
In fact just read everything Jessica Shirvington writes because she’s awesome. Anyway, both these books have the kind of “two worlds,” Sliding Doors-esque premise, and there are lots of twists and turns that are pretty great. Like with Pivot Point, Between the Lives is really addictive and you never know what’s going to happen next.
FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell // LIFE IN OUTER SPACE by Melissa Keil
I really love both of these books. They have kind of shy main characters, but everything’s so geeky and adorable and funny and it’s just brilliant. Sam from Life in Outer Space should definitely be friends, as should love interests Levi and Camilla. See? The fact that I even remember everyone’s names shows you how good it is (especially considering I read it more than two years ago!).
Well, a) if you want an existential crisis and b) you want a totally unique and weird book, and c) you liked More Than This Lullaby is definitely the one for you. Maybe. I mean, you might hate it – these kinds of books are hit and miss. BUT THEN AGAIN YOU MIGHT LOVE IT, and why take the chance of not reading it? Technically Bernard Beckett is from New Zealand but we’ll forgive him the error of his ways.
DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas // COOPER BARTHOLOMEW IS DEAD by Rebecca James
Rebecca James is pretty much the queen of Aussie YA contemporaries. While I wasn’t such a big fan of Cooper Bartholomew, I was definitely in the minority – everyone else raves about this book. Plus, if you liked all the alternating perspectives in Dangerous Girls, and trying to figure out for yourself what happened, this one might be for you.
So how do you find these delicious Australian books?
We’re kind of far away, after all, and often Aussie YA isn’t published overseas. What you CAN do is read e-books, pester your libraries and bookstores to stock Aussie YA, and spread the word as much as you can – whether through reviewing, tweeting, word of mouth, whatever.
Aussie YA is awesome and it definitely needs to be more popular so I can DISCUSS THINGS.
Aussies – what do you think of my comparisons? And non-Aussies – have I convinced you to read any of these?