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LoveOzYA Hidden Gems

  • 22 October, 2019
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As readers, we all have those special books, new and old, that feel as though they were written just for us. Maybe they make us feel seen and understood, or offer the perfect escape, or even change the way we think about the world. Whatever the reason, they’re the books that shine the brightest on our shelves and the books we wish we could put in more readers’ hands.

Here at LoveOzYA, we’re all about helping readers discover their next great Aussie YA read, so we put out the call for you to share your #LoveOzYA ‘hidden gems’ and let us know about the books you think deserve a little extra love.

And what a list you gave us! We’ve tallied your responses and gathered them all here alphabetically by title–over thirty great reads to add to your TBR!

A Brief History of Montmaray Cover

A Brief History of Montmaray, The Montmaray Journals Book 1

by Michelle Cooper
Penguin Random House Australia (2008)

‘A smart and stirring choice to usher fans of the Brontës into the twentieth century.’ – Starred review, Booklist

Find out more about this book.

A Corner of White

A Corner of White, The Colours of Madeline Book 1

by Jaclyn Moriarty
Pan Macmillan (2012)

‘Perfectly strange … Jaclyn Moriarty is one of the most original writers we have.’ Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief

Find out more about this book.

Ballad for a mad girl

Ballad for a Mad Girl

by Vikki Wakefield
Text Publishing (2017)

‘Fans of intelligent, unflinching, spine-crawling thrillers…will love Ballad for a Mad Girl.’ – Books+Publishing

Find out more about this book.

Because of you

Because of You

by Pip Harry
UQP (2017)

‘This story speaks for those who are voiceless, its message one of empathy and hope. I loved it.’ – Kirsty Eagar, author of Summer Skin

Find out more about this book.

Between the Lives

Between the Lives

by Jessica Shirvington
HarperCollins (2013)

Between the Lives is an exquisite book about love or life.’ – Reader-submitted review, The Guardian

Find out more about this book.

Breathing Underwater

Breathing Under Water

by Sophie Hardcastle
Hachette (2016)

‘… A poetically written book on picking yourself up and starting again.’ – The Book Fairies

Find out more about this book.

Girl Saves Boy

Girl Saves Boy

by Steph Bowe
Text Publishing (2010)

‘Steph Bowe’s debut is charming and quirky and heartfelt enough to make you catch your breath when you least expect it. Readers will adore Girl Saves Boy and I can’t wait to see what comes next.’ – Simmone Howell, author of Girl Defective

Find out more about this book.

In the Skin of a Monster

In the Skin of a Monster

by Kathryn Barker
Allen & Unwin (2015)

‘One of the most original novels I’ve read for a long while. Great voices. Complex relationships. Just what I love to read.’ – Melina Marchetta, author of Looking for Alibrandi

Find out more about this book.

Inside the Tiger

Inside the Tiger

by Hayley Lawrence
Penguin Random House Australia (2018)

‘This is an impressive debut novel, a real coming of age story. Lawrence has created authentic, likeable characters who engage the reader and drive the book.’ – Rebecca Kemble, Magpies

Find out more about this book.

Invisible Boys

Invisible Boys

by Holden Sheppard
Fremantle Press (2019)

‘Sheppard pulls no punches in this story, challenging expectations and taking the reader on a dark journey through each boy’s life, with only a sliver of light at the end providing hope for a brighter future. This book feels somewhat unmoored from time, with a raw edginess … which brings to mind books like Puberty Blues and the work of Tim Winton.’ – Junior Books+Publishing

Find out more about this book.

Killing Aurora

by Helen Barnes
Penguin (1999)

‘A poignant and disturbingly realistic account.’ – Goodreads review

Find out more about this book.

Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories

Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories

edited by Michael Earp
Walker Books (2019)

‘Beautiful, fresh and exciting, Kindred brings together the pleasure of reading about people who share your own experience, and the delight in discovering lives, worlds and ways of being that are utterly unlike your own. It made me believe that the world is bigger, kinder and more beautiful than I’d thought possible. Kindred peels back the labels we all wear to find the people, stories and beating hearts underneath. It’s a book for everyone.’ – Lili Wilkinson, author of After the Lights Go out

Find out more about this book.

Life in Outer Space

Life in Outer Space

by Melissa Keil
Hardie Grant Egmont (2013)

‘… An adorably realistic Aussie contemporary.’ – The Boomerang Books Blog

Find out more about this book.

Mallee Boys

Mallee Boys

by Charlie Archbold
Wakefield Press (2017)

‘A well-paced and ultimately suspenseful tale full of convincing and engaging characters.’ – Katharine England, Advertiser

Find out more about this book.

Neverland

Neverland

by Margot McGovern
Penguin Random House Australia (2018)

‘Darkly sublime, subversive and haunting, lush and honeyed – everything I love in a book.’ – Allyse Near, author of Fairytales for Wilde Girls

Find out more about this book.

Nona and Me

Nona and Me

by Clare Atkins
Black Inc. Books (2014)

‘A powerful coming-of-age story … Atkins writes with clear-eyed sensitivity, and although I longed to hear Nona’s voice, its absence is deliberate and effective. Nona & Me is poignant young-adult fiction invoking the complex and often overlooked realities of remote indigenous life.’ – Sydney Morning Herald

Find out more about this book.

Stone Girl

Stone Girl

by Eleni Hale
Penguin Random House Australia (2018)

‘Hale has written a novel that is so much more than just a fantastic book. This is a book that gives a voice to the forgotten ones, the kind of book a child stuck in the system might pick up and feel some hope after reading it. And maybe, just maybe some real change will occur. (Five stars)’ – Books+Publishing

Find out more about this book.

Swallow the Air

Swallow the Air

by Tara June Winch
UQP (2006)

Swallow the Air is an intriguingly good debut from a young writer with an original story to tell.’ – Sydney Morning Herald

Find out more about this book.

The Centre of My Everything

The Centre of My Everything

by Allayne Webster
Penguin Random House Australia (2018)

The Centre of My Everything is both heartbreaking and heart warming. Allayne Webster navigates the world of young adults living in a regional town with a deft hand and sharp eye. The characters are raw and beautifully realised and stay with you long after reading. I was hooked from the first page.’ – Sue Lawson, author of Freedom Ride

Find out more about this book.

The Collective Series, Book 1 Forget Me Not

The Collective (Series)

by Stacey Nash
HarperCollins (2014)

‘Nash has created a fascinating underground world for her readers to explore.’ – Silver Petticoat Review

Find out more about these books.

Book Cover: The Crowning by Nattie Kate Mason

The Crowning (Series)

by Nattie Kate Mason
Independent author (2019)

‘… Original and unique and filled with magic, revenge, death and hope.’ – Just Perfiction

Find out more about these books.

Book Cover: The Finder by Kate Hendrick

The Finder

by Kate Hendrick
Text Publishing (2018)

‘Conveys the emotional turmoil of adolescence…an intense and emotional story.’ – CBCA Reading Time

Find out more about this book.

Book Cover: The First Third by Will Kostakis

The First Third

by Will Kostakis
Penguin Random House Australia (2013)

‘The relationships in this novel are gems, funny dialogue, wonderful characters, a story told with so much heart.’ – Melina Marchetta, author of Looking for Alibrandi

Find out more about this book.

Book Cover: Sabriel by Garth Nix

The Old Kingdom (Series)

by Garth Nix
Allen & Unwin (this edition 2014, originally published 1996)

‘Weaving horror and fantasy into a rich, original story … a powerful, gripping quest.’ – The Age

Find out more about these books.

Book Cover: The Order of the Rose by Alysha King

The Order of the Rose

by Alysha King
Independent author (2013)

‘This is a fast paced YA story in which the action never lets up from the first page.’ Goodreads review

Find out more about this book.

Book Cover: Heart of Mist by Helen Scheurer

The Oremere Chronicles (Series)

by Helen Scheuerer
Talem Press (2017)

Heart of Mist [The Oremere Chronicles, Book 1] is an incredible fantasy novel: magic, hints of romance, friendship, betrayal, secrets and deeply rooted plot twists abound.’ – The Book Tweeter

Find out more about these books.

Book Cover: The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard

The Stars at Oktober Bend

by Glenda Millard
Allen & Unwin (2016)

‘Millard’s quiet, piercing novel, told in two voices, is full of brokenness—broken people, broken families—but also love.’ – Publishers Weekly

Find out more about this book.

Book Cover: The Things I Didn't Say by Kylie Fornasier

The Things I Didn’t Say

by Kylie Fornaiser
Penguin Random House Australia (2016)

The Things I Didn’t Say is a great example of a YA contemporary. It’s funny, touching, tackles big issues with care, and is written from the heart.’ – Babbling Books

Find out more about this book.

Book Cover: The Wrong Girl by C J Archer

The Wrong Girl (1st Freak House Series, Book 1)

by C J Archer
Independent author (2013)

‘…If you like Gothic stories, strong heroines, books that pass the Bechdel test, classic literature (as it is set in Victorian times), paranormal or supernatural books (no vampires, but psychic powers), then totally read this book.’ – Moonlight Library

Find out more about this book.

Book Cover: This is How We Change the Ending by Vikki Wakefield

This is How We Change the Ending

by Vikki Wakefield
Text Publishing (2019)

‘Vikki Wakefield is one of the most creative and daring authors writing for young adults today.’ – Danielle Binks

Find out more about this book.

Book Cover: Untidy Towns by Kate O'Donnell

Untidy Towns

by Kate O’Donnell
UQP (2017)

‘Sweet, headstrong, contrary Adelaide is navigating the push-and-pull of teen dreams and real-life choices. Written with heart and humour, this gorgeous tale will leave you smiling.’ – Fiona Wood

Find out more about this book.

Book Cover: Valentine by Jodi McAlister

Valentine (Series)

by Jodi McAlister
Penguin Random House (2017)

‘Fans of urban fantasy aged 13 years and up will find themselves quite at home with this debut novel from Jodi McAlister.’ – Books+Publishing

Find out more about these books.

Book Cover: Vengeance Blooms by Chloe Hodge

Vengeance Blooms, Guardians of the Glove Trilogy

by Chloe Hodge
Independent author (2019)

‘This novel is everything you want in a YA Fantasy novel, amazing plot, spectacular character development, and an epic adventure. This authors writing style and world building reminds me of Tolkein. I highly recommend this book.’ – Natalie Mason, 5 stars

Find out more about this book.

Book Cover: When the World Was Flat (and we were in love) by Ingrid Jonach

When the World Was Flat (And We Were in Love)

by Ingrid Jonach
Strange Chemistry (2013)

‘I’ve never had such a powerful impact from a book before – I can’t stop thinking about the story and the characters – just wondering about it all… This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. There are so many complex and mind-bending elements to it – not to mention the mystery, action, and the romance.’ – A Dream within a Dream

Find out more about this book.

Book Cover: When We Wake by Karen Healy

When We Wake

by Karen Healy
Allen & Unwin (2013)

‘A gripping, human story set against the backdrop of a chillingly plausible future here.’ – Sean Williams

Find out more about this book.

Book Cover: While We Run by Karen healy

While We Run

by Karen Healy
Allen & Unwin (2014)

‘Readers who may feel they’ve exceeded their threshold for dystopias and books featuring sh*tty futures would do well to take a look at this series, which breathes new life into the subgenre.’ – Stacked Books

Find out more about this book.

Book Cover: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Words in Deep Blue

by Cath Crowley
Pan Macmillan (2016)

‘Words in Deep Blue is a beautiful examination of grief, love and the power of words. Told in a dual narrative and littered with excerpts from letters and notes left in books at the shop, Cath Crowley has created a sweeping story about self-discovery and growing up, filled with complicated and flawed characters … this is a love letter to books and bookshops, to the ocean, to falling in love and finding your way.’ – Bookseller+Publisher

Find out more about this book.

Book Cover: Yellow by Megan Jacobson

Yellow

by Megan Jacobson
Penguin Random House Australia (2016)

‘In her first novel, Megan Jacobson reveals herself to be a masterful storyteller . . . This is young-adult fiction at its best.’ – Nick Earls

Find out more about this book.

Have a favourite Aussie YA book that you don’t see on this list? Tell the world how much you love it using #LoveOzYA!


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