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!

Continue reading “Melbourne Writers Festival 2019 – YA Day”

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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.

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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.

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

3 reasons why you should read Poppy Nwosu’s YA novel ‘Making Friends With Alice Dyson’

Alice Dyson has her eyes on the prize in her final year of school: concentrate solely on her studies so she can graduate with top marks. No distractions wanted! But the universe has other plans in store for her. One being Teddy Taualai, the school’s notorious troublemaker who has suddenly taken a shine to Alice. And the other is conflict with her best (and only) friend May, who appears to be slowly growing apart from Alice, much to her despair.

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One of the best things about this novel was that I liked the way friendship was presented in all of its multifaceted glory.

Continue reading “3 reasons why you should read Poppy Nwosu’s YA novel ‘Making Friends With Alice Dyson’”

My top 3 favourite things about Sarah Epstein’s YA thriller ‘Small Spaces’

I started reading Small Spaces at night. On the one hand, it really amped up the chilling mood. On the other hand, I finished it at 2am & then every noise around the house became an OH GOD WHAT WAS THAT?! noise. Let me tell you, as someone with an already overactive imagination, it was a wild ride getting to sleep. It was all worth it, though, because Sarah Epstein has written a truly captivating, spine-tingling and thought-provoking debut novel.

When Tash Carmody was a kid, she saw her frightening imaginary friend Sparrow lure a young girl named Mallory from a carnival. Thankfully Mallory came home, but no one believed Tash’s story, and as she grew older she accepted that Sparrow wasn’t real. But Tash is in for a shock when Sparrow – and the memories associated with him – start to resurface just as Mallory and her family move back to town. Will Tash be able to uncover the truth about what really happened that terrible day at the carnival?

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One of the best elements of this novel is that your mind is constantly changing about which characters you can trust – even Tash.

Continue reading “My top 3 favourite things about Sarah Epstein’s YA thriller ‘Small Spaces’”

YA Day 2019 – insider info & advice from 15 wonderful YA authors

Saturday the 9th of February was The YA Room’s spectacular YA Day at The Wheeler Centre (thanks also to Writers Victoria), where fifteen authors across five different panels shared their expertise and anecdotes about the YA industry. It was the first time I’d been to the event and I came away with so much inspiration, admiration & a significant chunk of money missing from my bank account because of course I had to buy ALL the amazing books.

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Every author had a lot of great things to say so I’ve consulted my scribbly notes & put together some writing gems that I found interesting and helpful.

*Willy Wonka singing voice* “Come with meeee, and you’ll beeee in a world of writer informaaaation…”

Continue reading “YA Day 2019 – insider info & advice from 15 wonderful YA authors”

3 reasons why you should read Lili Wilkinson’s YA novel ‘After the Lights Go Out’

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After the Lights Go Out by Lili Wilkinson focuses on the life of seventeen-year-old Pru Palmer, who lives with her dad, Rick, and twin sisters, Grace and Blythe, in a rural Australian town called Jubilee. The girls are estranged from their mother and are being homeschooled by their father. Oh, and the family also happen to be doomsday preppers who own a secret bunker that will allow them to survive if the power cuts out and the world turns to chaos… And wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what happens.

What drew me in immediately to the story is that you’re filled with a sense of unease that never truly goes away throughout the whole book. Continue reading “3 reasons why you should read Lili Wilkinson’s YA novel ‘After the Lights Go Out’”