A list of books (and reviews for them) that I totally, 100% RECOMMEND! A+++ reading, guys!
Theme: books written by Australian authors. Because Australian authors TOTALLY need more love! ON WITH THE LIST!
1. Looking for Alibrandi - Melina Marchetta
Meet Josephine Alibrandi. She lives in Australia, her family is Italian, she's never met her father and she's at her last year of high school at a private school on a scholarship. Cue identity crisis! Mix it all together, and you get a fabulous book full of witty humour, PMS, edge-of-your-seat conflicts, crazy Italians, crazy Australians, and a story that will tug at your heartstrings.
2. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld (first in a trilogy)
Set in the future at an unspecified date, humanity has devised a way to rid themselves of discrimination. At the age of sixteen, every boy and girl undergoes cosmetic surgery to make them look drop dead gorgeous.
Tally Youngblood can't wait until her sixteenth birthday-- she's sick of being an Ugly! Escaping from New Pretty Town one night, Tally meets Shay, another Ugly soon approaching Surgery Day. But Shay doesn't want to become a Pretty. Together, they both discover that perhaps becoming a Pretty is not such a great thing after all...
I loved this book to bits-- not only could I not put it down and was left screaming "More! More!" at the end, but it also offers interesting parallels to our society as it stands today.
3. The Magician's Guild - Trudi Canavan (first in a trilogy)
Each year, the magicians of Imardin gather together to purge the city streets of vagrants, urchins and miscreants. Masters of the disciplines of magic, they know that no one can oppose them. But their protective shield is not as impenetrable as they believe. The Magician's Guild follows the story of Sonea: a street kid herself, who is angry, frustrated and outraged by the treatment of her family and friends by the magicians.
One day, during the purges, she hurls a stone at the shield and puts all her rage behind it. To the amazement of all who bear witness, the stone passes unhindered through the barrier and renders a magician unconscious. Immediately the magicians realise that there is an untrained magician loose in the city. This is only the begining of a cycle of events that will turn Sonea's world upside down...
4. Feeling Sorry for Celia - Jaclyn Moriarty
I think the best way I can describe this book is an excerpt from one of my favourite pages.
Dear Ms Clarry,
It is with great pleasure that we invite you to join our society.
We have just found out about your holiday! It is so impressive! You had four assignments, an English essay and a chapter of Maths to do. And you didn't do one single piece of homework!
Also, we have a feeling that you have a History test today. And you're trying to study now? On the bus? With the Brookfield boys climbing onto each other's shoulders to get to the emergency roof exit? And with Celia about to get on the bus at any moment? And you think that's going to make a difference!
That's really very amusing, Elizabeth. We like you for it.
You're perfect for our Society and we're very excited about having you join.
Society of People who are Definitely Going to Fail High School (and Most Probably Life as Well!)
A thoroughly charming book, "Feeling Sorry for Celia" entails a series of letters, notes, and postcards, many from the imaginary organizations that plague Elizabeth's thoughts. As if she didn't already have enough to worry about-- her best friend, Celia, has just run away to join the circuis to become a tightrope walker! ... No, really.
5. So Much To Tell You - John Marsden
Marina, a fourteen-year-old recently transferred from a mental hospital to a boarding school, can't speak. Her muteness is a reaction to trauma; her father, in a moment of fury at her mother, threw photographic acid in the car window and, instead of hitting his wife, hit his daughter's face. Severely scarred, both inside and outside, resentful of her mother and bewildered by her father, she records her daily life tentatively in a journal.
The girls in her dorm have been apprised of her problem and treat her mostly with respect, but only one of them is fully able to keep making the moves that open a door to friendship. Despite Marina's best efforts to remain silent and alone, the select few who refuse to give up on her are the ones that render this novel so heart warming.
6. Tomorrow, When the War Began - John Marsden (first in a series)
I could simply tell you these novels are about teenagers conducting guerrilla warfare against the army that has invaded their country, but they are so much more than that. How can I tell you how incredibly good these books are? I can't begin to find all the adjectives to tell you how good these books are.
It is absolutely thrilling, edge-of-your-seat fiction from begining to end. Hungry for more, I read the entire series (consisting of something like, 7+ books? I don't remember) in under a fortnight. I would have read them faster, but they were always taken out in the library!
As a side note- these books contain quite a smattering of Australian slang. It's usually not crucial to your understanding of the book if you don't know what a particular slang word means, but if you want to know, you can always IM me.
7. Galax-Arena - Gillian Rubinstein
Joella, her older brother, Peter, and her younger sister, Liane, are kidnapped by aliens and removed to the planet Vexak. Unbelievable, isn't it? Along with 20 other children from Earth, they are trained as acrobats to perform in the Galax-Arena for the Vexa-- their alien audience who thrive on vicarious danger. After failing as an acrobat, the unathletic Joey becomes an isolated Vexan "pet", a situation that allows her to learn the truth about her captivity and acquire the courage and means to escape.
Galax-Arena is chillingly real-- from the Peb pidgin language to the children's gradual loss of innocence, it creates a psychological, sci-fi thriller that is absolutely impossible to put down.
8. Evil Genius - Catherine Jinks
And now for something a little more light hearted and fun~. I just finished reading this book yesterday, so just bear with me. It hasn't had time to properly sink in yet, so I'm ganking the blurb off the back of the book (if only because it sums the book up rather well):
At seven, Cadel Piggott was hacking into computer networks.
At eight, he was orchestrating traffic jams.
At twelve, he was sabotaging construction sites.
Now, at fourteen, he's studying for his World Domination degree.
The trouble is, he's finding it hard to live up to his father's expectations.
Evil Genius explores the fine line between good and evil in a strange world of manipulation and subterfuge.
1. I've limited myself to one book per author (except in the case of John Marsden, who is FULL OF WIN), but most of these authors have written other books too, so if you enjoy one of them, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND going and checking out their other works too!
2. As for series: I've mentioned the first book of that series, so if you want to continue with it, you can, but I'm not listing the rest of them because then that would count toward the ten-book-limit of the list :O. (I already have eight :<-- WATCH THIS SPACE! I may add two more!)
3. As these are all, yes, books published in AUSTRALIA, they may or may not be difficult to find in your local corner-store bookshop if you live in America or England (I'm not sure as to the availability of them). As a result, I've tried to list the most well-known books to increase chances of finding them overseas. Go check out a large bookstore (like Borders) or if you have a large local public library, try that!
4. Anybody looking for great works of high literature, you've come to the wrong place-- probably only one or two books here fall in to that category. These are just great reads, nothing more, nothing less.
5. If you do read a book off this list, I would love it if you told me what you thought of it :)! I don't care if you loved it or hated it-- I just love talking books!
WHOA that took ages to type up! Now I shall go make my responses to the meme below >:D! ATCHA!