Author – Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Age – 10+
Grace and her little sister Bee became orphans 5 years ago, losing their mother to an illness and their father two days later. Their sun-loving, travelling Uncle Freddy returned immediately to become their guardian. Soon after their grandfather moved in too.
Five years on and they’ve done ok. Uncle Freddy forgets to pay the bills sometimes and housework isn’t his top priority, but the girls feel loved and cared for. If only they could talk about the not-to-be-mentioned subject. The loss of their parents and in turn, their grief.
Now Grace is older, she’s become embarrassed by her little sister’s quirkyness and insistence on imaginary things being real. According to Bee, their parents are still around, their dog talks to her, and there is a magical hotel at the top of tall cliffs nearby.
When Grace wants to be part of the ‘top group’ at school, she fears Bee will spoil it for her, and she does everything she can to prevent that – with terrible consequences.
Another wonderful story by this author. This is a tale of a blended family all dealing with a great loss all in their own way, and a special little girl who sees things differently. Beautiful.
(School, Popularity, Blended Family, Family, Grief, Love)
Author – Gillian Mears
Illustrator – Dinalie Dabarera
Age – 6+
The Cat with the Coloured Tail is no ordinary cat. Not only does its tail change colour, it guides his friend Mr Hooper and his moon-cream van, seeking out unhappy people who just might need one of their magical moon-creams. These moon-creams are no ordinary ice-cream, spun with just the right colours that the person needs to cheer them.
When they’re not selling moon-creams, or making special ones for those in need, they both love to look for heart shapes around them. One day, the cat’s tail turns black, and Mr Hooper knows something is terribly wrong. Can he help return his cat to it’s colourful self?
Shortlisted for many Australian Awards. A story of kindness, hope, song and love.
(Love, Animals, Cat, Icecream, Kindness)
Author – Sally Gardner
Illustrator – Nat Barlex
Age – 13+
Jazmin’s best friend Becky has gone. She jumped off a building with her boyfriend. But moments after they jumped they vanished, leaving Jaz with the fallout, a devastating court trial, and her life shattered.
No-one believed her testimony at the trial. No-one would listen to her. But now, a man called Mr Jones has come to interview her. She can finally tell someone what really happened.
A line on the cover gives a clue to the reader that this is a story that contains something not of this world ‘They came to Earth to find love‘. And indeed it does include alien beings. But the entire story is still set on Earth as we know it today, through a series of interviews. This style and structure was intriguing and had to be followed closely as each person recounted what happened before Becky disappeared.
Something different from a multi-award winning author.
(Aliens, Friendship, Friends, Love, Romance, Sci-Fi, Action, Fear)
Author – Scot Gardner
Age – 12+
Sparrow is kind, respectful, brave and friendly. He’s also resourceful and street savvy. He has to be – sleeping on a block of toilets at night, avoiding his brother and his paint sniffing gang of teens, and helping cafe owners with their chairs night and morning in payment for food.
Sparrow is a selective mute after a troubled childhood, and this story begins on a boat full of kids from juvie. A fire forces them into the croc and shark filled waters, and 16 year old Sparrow swims for his life to the far north Australian coastline. With determination and courage learnt on the streets of Darwin, he learns how to survive in the bush and mangroves.
This tale of survival is interspersed with chapters of his earlier life, people that have helped him, the reason for his mutism, and why he’s called Sparrow.
But he’s not alone on the coastline. Someone else escaped the burning boat. Someone who needs saving even more than him.
Sparrow is yet another compelling teen novel from this accomplished Australian author. This book is not only about survival. It’s about loss, courage, love and hope for a future that seemed impossible to imagine.
(Street kid, Survival, Love, Determination, Self sufficient, Fishing, Hunting, Australia, Love, Courage)
Author – Sarah Crossan
Age – 13+
Joe Moon has always looked up to his big brother Ed. He was there for him when their alcoholic mother wasn’t, attending parent interviews, walking him to school or just taking him out for some fun.
But Joe hasn’t seen Ed for ten years. And now Ed’s on Death Row, he needs Joe. His mother long gone, and his aunt pretending Ed doesn’t exist, Joe goes to the small town and the prison that holds his brother.
This is Joe’s story of getting to know his brother again, asking him the questions he needs to ask, hoping when there is no hope left, for a stay of execution. Along the way he meets someone unexpected. Someone who shouldn’t be there for him, but helps him deal with what is to come.
Stunning. The poetry format gives you all you need and no more to feel the character’s heartbreak, confusion, anger, and even happiness as he remembers pieces of his childhood.
A tale of love and forgiveness – for everything and anything, and hope for one more month, one week, one hour, one minute….
(Family, Love, Growing up, Execution, Prison, Hope, Relationships, Award winning author)
Author – James Bradley
Age – 13+
Ever since strange spores covered Earth, leaving web-like threads, humankind has battled The Change. Anybody who shows the symptoms of luminescence on their skin, or strange lights in their irises, are taken from their families, never to be seen again.
Callie is not about to let that happen to her 5 yr old half-sister Gracie. They have already lost their father to The Change, and Callie can’t face losing Gracie too. Against the strict Quarantine laws, Callie flees across Australia to The Zone – a place said to be a safe haven for The Changed.
But their journey is full of danger, vicious dogs with hate-filled owners, drones on the look-out and determined Quarantine officers. Will they get to The Zone and is it what they’ve been told or is it something not of this world?
I quickly became attached to determined, resourceful Callie and her love for her little sister. The tension never lets up on their journey and it culminates in a shocking finale. A trilogy I will definitely be following!
(Dystopian, Love, Family, Action, Alien, Escape, Determination, Series, Trilogy)
Author – Philip Pullman
Age – 15+ (Sexual Content)
When Chris helps a girl escape a group of guys at a posh party he is working at, he finds a love that consumes him. Jenny is smart, beautiful and independent. She lives in a squat with two friends and one weekend he invites her to stay with him as he house sits his dad’s place and looks after their cat.
When Jenny goes home, her squat is boarded up, her friends arrested for drug dealing and she is without a home. Not wanting to go back to Chris’ dad’s place to ask where he lives, she loses contact with Chris. She doesn’t know his surname and doesn’t know exactly where he works. They both spend months searching for each other in the city of Oxford.
Jenny gets a job baby-sitting. She doesn’t know Chris works for the child’s father, or that the father is being hunted down by a killer. Somebody is going to die…
Quick but thrilling read by this master story-teller,
(Thriller, Love, IRA, Betrayal, Lies, Growing up, Blended family, Step mother, Abuse)