My top 3 favourite things about Fiona Hardy’s novel ‘How to Make a Movie in 12 Days’

INT. SUBURBAN HOUSE. AFTERNOON. A blogger, CARLY, finishes reading How to Make a Movie in 12 Days. She holds up THE BOOK and looks towards the camera with a grin.

CARLY
This debut middle grade novel by Fiona Hardy is amazing! It’s funny, heartfelt, mysterious and made me want to watch every movie mentioned in it.

THE BOOK
Tell them about my synopsis!

CARLY
Great idea, awesome book!

12 Days
Beautiful cover illustration by Jess Racklyeft

Eleven-year-old film enthusiast, Hayley Whelan, has wanted to make a horror movie her whole life. When Hayley’s grandmother passes away, she’s gifted a video camera from the inheritance so she can make her film ‘Rosebud’ over the holidays with her friends. But Hayley is in for some horrors of her own when it becomes clear that someone is trying to sabotage her movie.

Firstly, I loved how prominent Hayley’s joy for filmmaking was.
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Melbourne Writers Festival 2019 – YA Day

How brilliant it was to have a whole day of the MWF dedicated to YA. The two events I went to were held in the Isabella Fraser Room at the State Library Victoria on September 1st. Not only was it a spectacular venue, but it also had the added bonus of a Readings bookshop on site… where I may or may not have added to my already bursting TBR pile.

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The first talk I attended was called ‘Why YA?’ and featured authors Randa Abdel-Fattah (When Michael Met Mina, Does My Head Look Big in This?) and Melina Marchetta (The Place On Dalhousie, Looking For Alibrandi), moderated by Melissa Keil (Life in Outer Space, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl).

The second talk I went to was ‘It’s Complicated’, featuring authors Nina Kenwood (It Sounded Better in My Head) and Jodi McAlister (Valentine, Ironheart), moderated by Michelle Smith. This panel was about romance, relationships and friendships in YA.

Everyone was wonderful to listen to and had so many gems of wisdom and advice. Here are dot points from each author on topics ranging from the publishing industry, POV, the importance of strong friendships in novels and even how romance is portrayed in The Bachelor!

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3 brilliant things I loved in ‘The Brilliant Ideas of Lily Green’ by Lisa Siberry

One time in grade six I tried to create my own Impulse body spray by mixing together apple juice, bubble bath and potpourri in a spritzer bottle. After a few days the scent was very ‘eau de forgotten fruit in a schoolbag’. But I loved the thrill of inventing something despite the mishaps, much like Lily Green, the main character in this wonderful middle grade novel from Lisa Siberry (and winner of the 2017 Ampersand Prize from Hardie Grant Egmont).

Lily Green 01
How fantastic is this cover illustration by Maggie Cole

Twelve-year-old Lily is dealing with a lot. Her best friend, Violet, is spending less time with her and more energy on Zoe Von Hammer, Lily’s nemesis. Zoe is also determined to beat Lily in the school science competition for the third year in a row. And on top of all that, Lily’s family salon – the last reminder she has of her dad – is up for sale. The only silver lining is that Lily’s beauty inventions are finally succeeding thanks to some interesting ingredients from her neighbour’s garden. But are her inventions too good to be true?

One of the coolest things in this novel is seeing Lily’s creativity evolve and reading about the fun inventions she makes (even if they end up going haywire).

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My top 3 favourite things about Nina Kenwood’s YA debut ‘It Sounded Better In My Head’

Not to go all Jerry Maguire, but this book had me at hello. Well, it actually had me at the chapter sample I was lucky enough to grab at YA Day in February, but either way I was hooked on the main character Natalie’s voice & characterisation and needed to know more. It also won the 2018 Text Prize, which is pretty darn cool.

It Sounded 01

Natalie’s at a time in her life where everything is changing. Her two best friends are in a relationship together (leaving her feeling a bit third-wheel-ish), she’s finished high school and is waiting to see what her future holds, and to top it all off she’s discovered her parents are separating. Nothing is going according to her plans… But then an unexpected romance comes along and makes things even more confusing.

I have never wanted to use #same or #mood more than I did when I was reading about Natalie’s inner thoughts – the social anxiety, the self-doubt, the overthinking. Nina Kenwood has written such a relatable character.

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3 reasons why you should read ‘Nullaboo Hullabaloo’ by Fleur Ferris

If that fun book title isn’t enough to entice you, then may I present to you: FAIRIES. Honest to goodness fairies. Younger, convinced-fairies-were-living-in-the-garden me would have devoured this story & I’m happy to report older, still-loves-magical-things me adored Fleur’s story, too.

Grade four student, Gemma Hart, already has a lot to contend with. Her parents are talking about moving away from the lovely country town of Nullaboo, and she’s stuck with the topic of march flies for her school science project when she really wanted butterflies. But her life gets even more complicated when she discovers a fairy called Janomi in her bug catcher who desperately needs Gemma’s help to save her fairy colony from not one, but two evil forces.

Nulla 01

I love that this book allows you to embrace the wonderment of magic in your own world.

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My top 3 favourite things about Meg McKinlay’s novel ‘Catch a Falling Star’

For Frankie Avery, the most memorable moment of 1979 was supposed to be graduating primary school – but then a space station called Skylab started to fall towards Earth. Most people are either frightened or fascinated by the ordeal, but for Frankie it has reawakened painful memories of grief and loss about her father she thought she’d locked away. And if that wasn’t enough to contend with, younger brother, Newt, has become fixated on Skylab and what its reemergence back home could mean for his family. “Maybe a space station isn’t the only thing heading straight for calamity.”

CAFS 01

The way Meg McKinlay explores sorrow and heartache through her writing is beautifully and realistically done.

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How to get published – Oz Comic Con 2019 author panel

On the 8th of June not only did I get to meet Pikachu and hang out in the TARDIS at Oz Comic Con, but I also got to listen to four authors have a lively discussion about their different publishing journeys. The hour-long ‘How to Get Published’ panel featured Isobelle Carmody, Astrid Scholte, C.S. Pacat and Kylie Chan. There were lots of other interesting things covered during the Q&A portion too, such as drafting and editing, how to find agents and the highs and lows of social media.

Here are some of my favourite tidbits of info and advice from each author:

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