So, I’ve done it again. Agreed to be a Clayton’s judge for Qld in the 2012 CBCA Book of the Year Awards.
I’ve gorged on books: eighty-odd were entered in the Older Readers category this year. The REAL CBCA Shortlist and Notables will be announced nationally on 3 April.
My Clayton’s Notable Books for Older Readers for 2012 is being announced right here, right now (Shortlist to follow… well, shortly).
Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel by Michael Gerard Bauer
Hilarious third and final book in the Ishmael series where our cast of lovable larrikins finish Year 12 at St Daniels. A must for every kid’s library.
Votive (Curse of the Bond Rider #2) by Karen Brooks
Compulsively readable second installment in Karen Brooks’s fantasy 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!
Silvermay by James Moloney
The first in James Moloney’s brlliant new fantasy series where a young village girl battles the Wyrdborn, a race of corrupt wizards, to save a baby prophesied to lay waste to the world.
The Dead I Know by Scot Gardner
Gritty yet sensitive tale of a troubled boy apprenticed to a kindly undertaker. A celebration of life in the face of death.
All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield
A difficult-to-put-down, warm and gritty novel about a girl from a rough neighbourhood who is desperate to escape her small-time crim roots. The engaging storyline and characters, fluid narrative and evocative writing make for a fantastic debut novel.
A Pocketful of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson
Deliciously fun geek-girl detective story set in a museum with bonus gross-out natural history trivia wrapped up in a treasury of mystery genre references. Something to nurture your inner nerd. Highly recommended.
The Extinction Gambit (The Extraordinaires, #1) by Michael Pryor
Entertaining romp through a richly re-imagined 1908 London, where magic flourishes, an enclave of Neanderthals survives in hiding, and a wolfish young man and a beautiful albino are all that stand between a trio of Immortal magicians and their plans for world domination. Wry and witty, for those who love their steam punk.
Being Here by Barry Jonsberg
Beautifully told story about the power of imagination. An unlikely friendship develops when an elderly woman relates the grim story of her childhood to a teenage girl for a school assignment. Keep tissues handy for the ending when the ghosts of the past come to claim their own.
Black Painted Fingernails by Steven Herrick
Life and happiness can turn on the toss of a coin. A lovely, affirming story by a writer who keeps coming up with the goods. If you liked Herrick’s last YA novel “Slice”, you’ll love this.
Crow Country by Kate Constable
A time-slip novel exploring black/white relations over three generations in rural Victoria. Deftly weaves Aboriginal spirituality into a magical realist framework. Highly recommended as a class novel for early high school.
The Golden Day by Ursula Dubosarsky
Exquisitely written story about the mysterious disappearance of a teacher from a 1960s girls’ school in Sydney. Haunting and lyrical, with shades of Picnic at Hanging Rock.
The Coming of the Whirlpool by Andrew McGahan
All the hallmarks of a swash-buckling classic from Miles Franklin award-winning author Andrew McGahan. The first instalment in the Ship Kings series brims with adventure, heroism and secrets.
When We Were Two by Robert Newton
Beautiful, funny and deeply moving story set at the start of World War One about runaway brothers marching towards their future. Deftly deals with the best and worst that men can teach boys as they conquer mountains, prejudice and the pain of their shared past.
The Shadow Girl by John Larkin
Thoughtful and edgy story about teenage homelessness. Recommended for upper secondary due to mature themes.
Only Ever Always by Penni Russon
Claire’s world is commonplace and familiar; Clara’s, post-apocalyptic and dangerous. A music box provides the key to their worlds colliding in a shared dreamscape. Fascinating and adventurous in its writing, “Only Ever Always” is for those who love reading to be both challenging and mesmerising.
Shift by Em Bailey
Is the new girl at school a parasite or something far worse? Is she imitating other girls or cannibalizing their lives? A genre-busting, riveting gallop of a read that examines toxic friendship through a more sinister lens.
Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2) by Melina Marchetta
In this mesmerising sequel to Finnikin of the Rock, loyalties are tested and dark bonds of kinship revealed as Lumatere strikes back at the heart of its enemy. Richly imagined, powerful story telling, with characters that will steal your heart.
Pig Boy by J.C. Burke
A confronting and compelling read that confounds expectations. An unlikeable outsider teams up with a Bosnian pig shooter so that he can learn to shoot. But the Wake in Fright elements mask author JC Brennan’s real and more subtle intentions. Impressive story telling.
A Straight Line To My Heart by Bill Condon
“Gungee is an ancient word meaning: this place is a hole.” Join Tiff from Gungee Creek in her funny, poignant and heartfelt tussles with life, death, first love, first job. From one of Australia’s finest writers for young people.
Eona (Eon, #2) by Alison Goodman
Stunning conclusion to the Dragoneye fantasy duology that started with Eon (also published as The Two Pearls of Wisdom). Eastern fantasy with spirit. Highly recommended.
Dangerously Placed by Nansi Kunze
Alex’s dream work experience placement becomes a nightmare when a co-worker is murdered and Alex becomes the prime suspect. A virtual reality thriller for high schoolers.
Just a Girl by Jane Caro
Atmospheric first person account of the young Elizabeth I on the eve of her coronation. A compelling fictionalisation and fascinating glimpse into the life of a great queen when she was just a girl.
Whisper by Chrissie Keighery
A fascinating story of a teenager who becomes profoundly deaf after contracting meningitis. Her attempts to reconcile her hearing and non-hearing worlds make for riveting reading.
Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan
Lanagan’s latest short story collection is beautifully written, mesmerisingly strange, yet oddly familiar. She tilts the world on its axis, we lose our balance and topple into the bizarre. An original and unique voice in Australian literature.