Add free shipping to your order with these great books
Sugar Town Queens : CBCA's Shortlist Older Readers 2022 - Malla Nunn

Sugar Town Queens

CBCA's Shortlist Older Readers 2022

By: Malla Nunn

Paperback | 3 August 2021

At a Glance


RRP $19.99


In Stock and Aims to ship next day
From the award-winning author of the CBCA shortlisted When the Ground Is Hard, comes a stunning portrait of a family divided and an uplifting story of how friendship saves and heals.

NOTABLE BOOK: 2022 CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers

Fifteen-year-old Amandla's mother has always been strange. For starters, she's a white woman living in Sugar Town, one of South Africa's infamous shanty towns. She won't tell anyone, not even Amandla, about her past. And she has visions, including ones that promise the return of Amandla's father as if he were a prince in a fairytale, but their hardscrabble life is no fairytale.

Amandla knows her father is long gone - since before Amandla was born - and she's pretty sure he's not a prince. He's just another mystery and missing piece of her mother's past, and one of the many reasons people in Sugar Town give them strange looks - that and the fact that Amandla is black and her mother is not.

Lately, her mother has been acting even more strangely, so when Amandla finds a mysterious address at the bottom of her mother's purse along with a large amount of cash, she decides it's finally time to get answers about her mother's life. With her best friends by her side, Amandla is ready to take on the devil himself, and as she confronts devastating family secrets and pain that has lasted a generation, taking on the devil is exactly what she must do.
Industry Reviews
"'Beautiful writing, great characterisation. A complex examination of race, class, family and patriarchy in modern South Africa. Anyone who thinks YA is a lesser genre needs to read this.' Maxine Beneba Clarke, The Hate Race and When We Say Black Lives Matter

'Sugar Town Queens is the story of a place and a family divided. It is the story of friendship and first love. Most of all, it is a powerful tale of three generations of women who join forces to fight against prejudice and violence.' Erin Gough, Flywheel and Amelia Westlake

'Sugar Town Queens gives voice to the new generation who push back for change in the world. A story of fierce girls, lost-and-found family, and friendship - I loved it.' Vikki Wakefield, This is How We Change the Ending

'Sugar Town Queens strikes the perfect balance between character- and plot-driven story ... Nunn does a phenomenal job at incorporating Zulu culture, tradition and language into the novel ... and makes a point to talk about South Africa post-Mandela and the difficulties of bringing together a nation so divided by race and wealth. Like recent similarly politically charged YA novels The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and I Am Change by Suzy Zail, context is given for these topics so they're easy to understand but never feel separate to the main story. In Sugar Town Queens Amandla's South Africa is both beautiful and deeply flawed, much like those she loves.' Tracy-Kate Simambo, Books + Publishing

'The excitement of the mystery; the memorable cast of characters, particularly the female characters; and the many twists and turns of the plot keep the pages turning until the very end.' MONIQUE HARRIS, The Horn Book

'This descriptive, fast-paced ­narrative is a compelling read that is difficult to put down and will likely fly off library shelves.' School Library Journal, starred review

'Explosive, long-buried family secrets lie at the heart of Malla Nunn's vivid and arresting Sugar Town Queens, but so do friendship, hope and the promise of love.' BookPage, starred review

'Complexities of race and racism in Mandela's freed South Africa are handled with realism and strength, both in Sugar Town and the sudden dichotomy of Amandla's life. Abandonment, poverty, parental illness, friendship, first love, unexpected allies, and sexual harassment are some of the topics woven into the whole, but it is the resilient community that is front and center in Nunn's unique and detailed setting. Readers will cheer Amandla as she discovers who she is and where she came from in this captivating book."" Booklist, starred review

Praise for When the Ground Is Hard:

'Excellent writing and an evocative setting make this novel a standout.' Booklist,?starred review

'Nunn's captivating first novel for young readers has all the hallmarks of a beloved classic.'?Adelaide Advertiser

'An engrossing narrative that gently but directly explores complex relationships.'?Kirkus Reviews


CBCA Awards 2022 Shortlist

Iceberg : CBCA Winner Children's Picture Book 2022 - Claire Saxby
Walk of the Whales : CBCA Honour Title Early Childhood 2022 - Nick Bland
Still Alive : CBCA's Shortlist Eve Pownall Award 2022 - Safdar Ahmed


Blue Flower : CBCA's Shortlist Children's Picture Book 2022 - Sonya Hartnett
Dragon Skin : CBCA Honour Title Younger Readers 2022 - Karen Foxlee
A Glasshouse of Stars : CBCA Winner Younger Readers 2022 - Shirley Marr
Jetty Jumping : CBCA Winner Early Childhood 2022 - Andrea Rowe

RRP $24.99


Huda and Me : CBCA's Shortlist Younger Readers 2022 - H. Hayek
Stellarphant : CBCA Honour Title Children's Picture Book 2022 - James Foley
The Inheritance : CBCA's Shortlist Children's Picture Book 2022 - Armin Greder
Sugar Town Queens : CBCA's Shortlist Older Readers 2022 - Malla Nunn
Tiger Daughter : CBCA Winner Older Readers 2022 - Rebecca Lim
For Love : CBCA's Shortlist Award for New Illustrators 2022 - Cristina Niri

CBCA Shortlist 2022 - Older Readers

Sugar Town Queens : CBCA's Shortlist Older Readers 2022 - Malla Nunn
Tiger Daughter : CBCA Winner Older Readers 2022 - Rebecca Lim
Terciel and Elinor : CBCA's Shortlist Older Readers 2022 - Garth Nix