Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Happy New Reading Year (another bunch o' five)

5 YA books I can't wait to read in 2010

Swapped By A Kiss
/ Luisa Plaja
This much-awaited sequel to the fabulous, warm-hearted and funny Split By A Kiss features feisty Rachel who, suspicious of her boyfriend David's commitment to her and feeling sick to death of being in her own skin, suddenly finds herself swapping bodies with Jo (the main character of the first book). I love Luisa's writing, I love her concepts, I love how good she is at snogging scenes, and I love how unschmaltzy her themes are underneath the generous and funny storylines.

Della Says: OMG! / Keris Stainton
Della kisses her long-term crush at a party...and then her diary disappears! Enough said, right? I've been reading Keris' blog for years and know her teen writing well; I'm sure this is going to be a huge hit. I'd read Keris' shopping list though, she's that entertaining.

My So-Called Afterlife / Tamsyn Murray
Exciting year for this author, with a teen book out as well as the first of her new series, "Stunt Bunny". Here's the blurb for My So-Called Afterlife: "I knew it was time to move on when a tramp peed on my Uggs..." Meet Lucy Shaw. She's not your average fifteen year old - for a start, she's dead. And as if being a ghost wasn't bad enough, she's also trapped haunting the men's toilets on Carnaby Street. So when a lighting engineer called Jeremy walks in and she realises he can see and hear her, she isn't about to let him walk out of her afterlife. Not least until he's updated her on what's happening in her beloved soaps. With Jeremy's help, Lucy escapes the toilet and is soon meeting up with other ghosts, including the perpetually enraged Hep and the snogtastic Ryan. But when Jeremy suggests Lucy track down the man who murdered her, things go down hill. Can Lucy face up to the events of that terrible night? And what will it cost her if she does? A wonderful debut novel which, as well as being laugh-out-loud funny, is full of insights, compassion, and love.

When I Was Joe / Keren David
I have it on very good authority that this is smashing. Here's the blurb:
When Ty witnesses a stabbing, his own life is in danger from the criminals he s named, and he and his mum have to go into police protection. Ty has a new name, a new look and a cool new image life as Joe is good, especially when he gets talent spotted as a potential athletics star, special training from an attractive local celebrity and a lot of female attention. But his mum can t cope with her new life, and the gangsters will stop at nothing to flush them from hiding. Joe s cracking under extreme pressure, and then he meets a girl with dark secrets of her own. This wonderfully gripping and intelligent novel depicts Ty/Joe's confused sense of identity in a moving and funny story that teenage boys and girls will identify with - a remarkable debut from a great new writing talent.

My fifth choice is the as-yet untitled debut novel by Steph Bowe, the fifteen-year-old author of popular blog Hey! Teenager of the Year. Steph sounds so smart and witty on her blog and tweets that I feel sure her book is going to be fabulous. She once had me in fits just by writing out a few tiny extracts from her 12-year-old diary. Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Bunch o' Fives

Over at the impressive Persnickety Snark (reviewer of YA books with a special interest in Aussie authors), Adele has been putting together the FIVE CHALLENGE, featuring lists of 5 bookish things in various categories (great covers, great debuts, best YA bloggers, etc). Inspired by that - and fuelled by a very great need to Get Over Myself (heady combination of vile PMT and homesickness) - I'm putting together some lists of my own. These are really just a Pollyanna-esque attempt to cheer myself up, but if any of my readers happen to find something of interest, all the better. So, here goes with today's list...

5 books I discovered and adored in 2009:

The Slap / Christos Tsiolkas "a forensic examination of the Australian suburban family and contemporary debates about morality and raising children" It's told from the point-of-view of eight people who were present at a bbq when one man smacks another man's child (won the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2009 for best novel in SE Asia and South Pacific): utterly gripping, clever, sad, hard-hitting.

A Kind of Intimacy / Jenn Ashworth - a daring black comedy, compulsive, hilarious and macabre, told by unreliable narrator Annie, who is morbidly obese, lonely and hopeful, and in love with the boy next door.

Everything Beautiful / Simmone Howell - witty, edgy, saccharine-free YA about a girl sent away to a Christian "holiday" camp to reform her character. Fat chance; but the angry, intriguing, wheelchair-bound Dylan provides a reason to stay.

Girl, 15, Charming But Insane / Sue Limb - I don't know where Sue Limb has been all my life, but I'm glad she's in it now. Funny, funny, funny stuff - and then I cried on the last page. Super teen lit, guaranteed to cheer you up.

Butterfly / Sonya Hartnett - grab-you-by-the-throat prose, this is a masterful story with a teen protagonist who thinks she's found love and acceptance with the older woman next door when she stuffs up her friendships with her peers. This is not YA-lit specifically.

Typically, the 5 came to me quickly and then another 5 and then another (this was a great reading year, that makes me happy). But first come first served n all.

Tomorrow: 5 books I can't wait to read in 2010.

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