What are your top 5 favourite OzYA books – how did you come to them and why do you love them?
I am a huge fan of OzYA. Australian stories are diverse, unique and exciting, romantic and varied to suit any taste. I have never been a genre specific reader, preferring to read widely within YA and sink into all of the stories available.
I am excited to highlight some recent favourites from my book shelf, simply because it is impossible for me to whittle down my all-time favourite list to only five.
This Is How We Change The Ending by Vikki Wakefield.
Vikki is an auto-buy author for me. The way she writes is magical and lyrical, and there is so much emotion and depth simmering beneath every interaction within her work. She tells intimate gritty tales that ripple outwards into large-scale social commentary, reflecting on the disadvantages that many Australian young people face today. This book in particular packs a real punch, without ever losing focus on the heart of its story – a boy named Nate who is trying to find his way.
Valentine by Jodi McAlister
This book really spoke to me because it has all the ingredients I love most. I think it’s the kind of book I want to write myself. It has a bickering, complicated and slow-burn romance. Fun contemporary vibes and characters. And a deliciously dark and dangerous supernatural element. I’ve read a lot of books about fairies, but reading one in such a recognisably Australian setting was an absolute joy, and I particularly love the balance between the light and the dark, which had me laughing one moment and then shivering the next. This one is such a fun read.
The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim
In a lot of ways, this is a light contemporary. It features a young woman’s coming of age, a sweet romance, and has a focus on family that is very satisfying. Yet it definitely has darker threads too, talking about racism and a family in deep crisis. I found it both upsetting and very moving, and I’ll admit it made me cry on multiple occasions. The main focus is on mental health and destroying the stigma that still surrounds it. This book really sunk beneath my skin.
The Girl with the Gold Bikini by Lisa Walker
I was lucky enough to read this book before it was released, and I just gobbled it up. It is a book for when you need something fun and fresh to get you through a hard day, an absolute antidote for stress or sadness. I honestly giggled the whole way through at the main character’s relentless hijinks. Lisa writes such amusing observations on Australian beach and bikini culture too, and the whole thing involves a madcap detective adventure through Byron and the Gold Coast. I really loved it.
Reign of Mist by Helen Scheuerer
This big book is the second in Helen’s Oremere Chronicles, a vast fantasy epic covering nations at war and a deadly approaching magic. The third book is on my list to buy and read this year (War of Mist). The series has really satisfying world-building, strong female characters and layered storylines, and I definitely recommend for anyone who is looking for a meaty new Australian series to get stuck into. I’ve been a big fan of Helen’s for quite a few years now and find her writing and her achievements very inspiring.
There are so many amazing books I’d love to talk about here, but I guess I have to draw the line somewhere! Thank you so much for reading 😊
Poppy Nwosu is an Australian YA author. Her debut novel, Making Friends with Alice Dyson, was shortlisted for the 2018 Adelaide Festival Unpublished Manuscript Award, and for the 2019 Readings Young Adult Book Prize. It will be published by Walker US in 2020.
Poppy’s new novel Taking Down Evelyn Tait is out this month.
Want to keep up to date with the latest LoveOzYA new releases, resources, events and news? SUBSCRIBE to our monthly newsletter.
Tags: Poppy Nwosu, Reign of Mist, Taking Down Evelyn Tait, The Girl with the Gold Bikini, The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling, This is how we change the ending, Valentine, YA book recommendations, young adult books