If, like me, you plan to end the year skidding in sideways with a book in each hand, then read on for this year’s hot Xmas pressie ideas for family and friends…
For the Teen Miss, it would be hard to go past Shift by Em Bailey. A genre-busting, riveting gallop of a read that examines toxic friendship through a more sinister lens. For me, this is the Young Adult psychological thriller of the year, with a doozy of a cover that booksellers tell me is walking off the shelves.
For tastes that run more to funny and poignant, first job, first love, then get Bill Condon’s A Straight Line to My Heart. All Aussie humour and heart, with cracker dialogue and characters you can’t bear to say goodbye to when the last page is turned.
For the young fella in the house, you can’t go wrong with The Coming of the Whirlpool: Ship Kings 1. This new series has all the hallmarks of a swash-buckling classic from Miles Franklin award-winning author Andrew McGahan. Brimming with adventure, heroism and secrets. A must-buy for boys 12+ this Christmas.
Michael Gerard Bauer’s Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel is a corker of a read for anyone aged 12 and over. In this hilarious third and final novel in the Ishmael series, our cast of lovable larrikins finishes Year 12 at St Daniels. The colourful rejacketed full set will make a terrific addition to any kid’s library.
For the knee-highs, Katherine Battersby’s adorable picture book Squish Rabbit is a winner with a squishy cover as sweet as the gelati palette used in its collaged pages. I have a very special three year old in mind for this one…
Lovers of fantasy are spoilt for choice with wonderful offerings from award-winning authors Melina Marchetta, Karen Brooks, Alison Goodman and James Moloney.
Froi of the Exiles is the riveting sequel to Finnikin of the Rock and once again proves that Melina Marchetta is gifted with the grace of writing characters who steal your heart. Powerful story telling coupled with a nuanced understanding of human nature creates a richly imagined tale peopled with unforgettable characters. Froi of the Exiles is compulsive reading that will leave you clamouring for the final book in the series.
In Karen Brooks’ Votive, the second in her Curse of the Bond Riders trilogy, the gentle candlemaker Tallow has been suborned by the corrupt Maleovellis and transformed into courtesan and assassin Tarlo. The machiavellian intrigues of this beautifully realised world will have you on tenderhooks for the final installment. Bring on Illumination!
Alison Goodman’s Eona is a stunning conclusion to the Dragoneye fantasy duology that started with Eon (also published as The Two Pearls of Wisdom).
And finally, James Moloney’s new fantasy Silvermay is guaranteed to please his myriad fans with Wyrdborn and common folk fighting over a child destined to destroy the world.
PS I’ve just realised this list is top-heavy with speculative fiction and kids, so next time I’ll post some recommendations for Nana and other significant adults in your lives.