It’s another amazing month in Young Adult Fiction!
My book of the month is The Waking Land by Callie Bates, an absolutely gorgeous fantasy adventure and one of the most enchanting books I’ve read in quite some time. This book swept me away to another world and I felt as though I had stars in my eyes the whole time I was reading. It’s awesome and magical and I loved every word!
This month we’ve also got some amazing books by Australian authors that I’m dying to read. My Lovely Frankie by Judith Clarke is a powerful story set in the 1950s about a young boy caught between faith and love. Dream Walker by Victoria Carless is a touching story about a girl growing up in a fishing town in Queensland, and Sky by Ondine Sherman is an emotional story of a girl who must move to the country to live with relatives after the death of her mother.
Reviews by Sarah McDuling
It is such a wonderful thing to discover a beautifully written, vibrantly realised and wildly creative fantasy novel – the kind that grips your imagination in an iron fist and will not let go. The Waking Land is such a book.
This is a story that truly has everything. There is an engaging and spirited heroine, a well-rounded and dynamic cast of supporting characters, an intriguing plot that is both well constructed and perfectly paced, and the kind of vivid and detailed world building that seems to effortlessly bring fantasy kingdoms and magical traditions to life.
This is the story of Lady Elanna Valtai, a young girl who has been raised among enemies as the daughter of an infamous traitor. She is loyal to the king who ripped her from her parents when she was a child, and barely remembers her true family or her homeland.
When circumstances force Elanna to flee the only home she has ever known, she soon finds herself returned to the kingdom of her birth, reunited with her lost family and compelled to lead a rebellion. At the same time she is aware of a powerful magic stirring within her, connecting her to the land…
This is the perfect read for anyone who likes fantasy with the feel of a sweeping historical epic. For lovers of romance, there is a compelling love story too! Brimming with adventure, intrigue, rebellion, magic and drama – The Waking Land is a spectacular read. My only real complaint is that I don’t want to wait for the next book in the series. I want it NOW! Learn more.
The plot of this book is definitely what you’d call an instant hook. Twins – a brother and sister – are forced to compete in a series of dangerous, life-threatening trials to determine which of them will rule the kingdom of Eden. I was hooked from the moment I first read the description of Dividing Eden, and even with my rather high expectations, this book still managed to blow my mind!
As twins, Carys and Andreus have always been very close and protective of each other. However, when they suddenly find themselves competing for the throne, it doesn’t take long for things to become…complicated. With hearts and minds divided, brother and sister are forced to confront terrible truths and go to extraordinary lengths for the sake of loyalty and ambition.
This is a very suspenseful read. Written from the alternating perspectives of the twins, readers will find themselves thrown into an intense and volatile situation which grows steadily more intense and volatile as the story progresses. I was pretty much tearing my hair out and grinding my teeth in anxious expectation as this story built up to its shocking conclusion. Beware: this book has a bit of a cliffhanger ending. Waiting for the next book is not going to be fun.
Full of secrets and lies, schemes and plots, romance and betrayal (and just a hint of magic), Dividing Eden is a gripping read that is guaranteed to please fans of Sarah J. Maas and Victoria Aveyard. Learn more.
The Undercurrent is a real roller-coaster of a read, packed full of thrills and tension and non-stop action. The characters are captivating and nuanced. The plot is fast-paced and high-powered. Most importantly, it is a tightly written and eminently satisfying standalone book.
I repeat: this is a standalone book. A standalone YA science-fiction thriller, no less. The rarest of jewels! How often do you come across a YA book with superhumans and government conspiracies and evil corporations – and find that it isn’t part of a series? Hardly ever! I really can’t tell you how great it is to read a book like this and not have to to deal with a cliffhanger ending!
Julianne is an eighteen year old girl struggling to contain an electrical undercurrent beneath her skin. It’s a dangerous and potentially lethal ability she doesn’t understand and cannot control – one which has brought her to the attention of a secret military organisation.
Meanwhile, Ryan is a former-athlete-turned-soldier in said military organisation. You can see where this is going, right? Cue the star-crossed romance! And then follow it up with some violence, mayhem and mystery because The Undercurrent has all this and more!
This is an explosive action thriller with a superpowered heroine, layered and complex supporting characters, an awesome romance, a high-octane adventure, and basically everything I need to make me a deliciously happy reader. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The first thing I did when I finished was to add Paula Weston’s Rephaim series to my Wish List because if it’s even half as good as The Undercurrent I know I’m going to love it! Learn more.
Review by Tanaya Lowden
Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index is the kind of book that you don’t realise is missing from your life. But a life without this book is a sad life indeed, as this book is adorable, heartwarming, and will give you all the feels. Simply put, I adored this novel.
This book follows Juniper Lemon sixty-five days after the accident that killed her sister; the accident that ripped Juniper’s life apart. When she finds a love letter written by her sister on the day of her accident that is mysteriously addressed to ‘You’, Juniper is desperate to learn ‘You’s’ identity and begins to investigate. What ensues is a story of friendship, overcoming grief, romance, and dumpster diving (yes, you read that correctly).
The character of Juniper has been beautifully crafted by Julie Israel. Juniper is quirky, courageous, and doesn’t care what others think of her. She’s slightly pessimistic, has a good heart, and is the kind of character I could read about forever. She is the essence of this novel, and is a much needed refreshing YA contemporary protagonist.
Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index is a poignant, endearing and sweet story. Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson. Learn more.
Not to be missed Australian YA fiction
About the Contributor
Sarah McDuling is Booktopia's Senior Content Producer and Editor of The Booktopian Blog. She has been in the bookselling game for almost a decade and a dedicated booklover since birth (potentially longer). At her happiest when reading a book, Sarah also enjoys talking/writing/tweeting about books. In her spare time, she often likes to buy a lot of books and take photographs of books. You can follow her on Twitter and Instragram @sarahmcduling
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