Wednesday, 18 May 2016


I was dubious about reading 'Illuminae' by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff because a) Science Fiction is not my thing and b) the book is around 600 pages.
But I am pleased to say that I have nothing but praise for 'Illuminae', which has been nominated for a string of awards including Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

The year is 2575, and the remote planet Kerenza is being invaded by a mega-corporation called Bio-Tech. The day of the invasion is the day teenage Kady breaks up her relationship with Ezra.
It is clear, however, that the pair are still greatly attracted to one another and this attraction and
tension is a compelling factor in the novel.

The world(s) in which Kady and Ezra inhabit are very different to our world. Spaceships, jump gates and wormholes enable people to travel from planet to planet.

The unravelling plot will have you riveted as a deadly virus is being unleashed on an unsuspecting population. Chances of survival are slim and getting slimmer.

The writing is sharp and edgy. Ezra's friend and Ezra have a conversation about Kady. His friend McNulty writes 'You are IN' 'PICKING CURTAINS' 'MEETING PARENTS' 'MAKING PUPPIES'.

At one point, Kady asks 'What's a book?' Is she serious? I'm not sure.

'Illuminae' is highly readable. Don't be put off by the 600 pages either-many of the pages are visuals-images that give the reader a sense of space and space travel.

Highly recommended reading for teens.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Yearbook Committee

I recommend
"The Yearbook Committee" by Sarah Ayoub as a popular young adult book choice for 2016.

It is the final year of high school and five very different teens are thrown together to form a committee to produce a yearbook. Mayhem ensues as none of the teens get along.

Charlie has just arrived in Sydney from Melbourne, intending to complete her year's study, then move back to Melbourne as quickly as possible. Charlie is sharply intelligent, strong and cynical.

Ryan is the popular school captain whose friends are cool and attractive. From the offset there is friction between Ryan and Charlie and it is clear they are on a collision course. Or is it a case of opposites attracting?

Then there's Matty. The reader gains his/her first impression of Matty as he crawls through a hole in the school fence to escape. Unfortunately for Matty he gets caught half way through by a vigilant teacher. Sigh! But Matty has his reasons for wagging school and we soon find out what they are.

Tammi is co-erced into joining the committee by her best friend and school bully, Lauren. Tammi is also being pressured by her boyfriend. Will she be able to assert her independence?

Last but not least is Gillian, who has parents who are constantly in the public spotlight, and have little time to spend on their children.

Ryan expressed his despair of the whole committee-
'You know,' he says, 'I've debated the best teams in Sydney and won, I've captained our soccer team to three grand finals and won two of those, and I walked the Kokoda Track with my Dad when I was fifteen - and all of that was cake compared to this stupid project!'

Snappy dialogue, humourous and also sad and poignant.
Read on!  


Monday, 11 April 2016

My Sister Rosa

My Sister Rosa by Justine  Larbalestier

Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control...Che's little sister 
Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and so good at deception that Che's convinced she must be a psychopath. She hasn't hurt anyone yet, but he's certain it's just a matter of time. And when their parents move them to New York City, Che longs to return to Sydney and his three best friends. 
But his first duty is to his sister Rosa, who is playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. 
Can he protect Rosa from the world - and the world from Rosa?

I had just finished watching sixteen seasons of Law and Order SVU back to back with my daughter so I found this book really interesting.  As the blurb indicates Che is worried about his little sister Rosa, and as it turns out he should be, but we know that from the beginning.  Rosa's parents don't seem to think there is much to worry about, but that doesn't stop Che, in fact, worrying about Rosa takes over his life.  Che has an interesting and diverse group of friends and this is something the author Justine Larbalestier has done very well, weave people from different aspects of life together.  Che's parents are stupid in love with each other, to the point that Che feels like they don't love their children as much as they love each other.  There are twists in the book and, almost like that saying, you can't put the book down although you are slightly on edge about what is happening and how.
A great psychological thriller from Justine Larbalestier.  
PS I yawn when I see others yawn so I'm ok, are you??

Tracy @ Hampton Park

Friday, 18 March 2016

The Selection

The Bachelor meets a dystopian world. Prince Maxon is now of age to find a wife and this gives the girls an opportunity of a lifetime. 35 girls are selected to live in the Prince’s palace and try win his heart. This would be a privilege for any girl chosen except America Singer, this would mean turning her back on the love of her life, Aspen who is in a caste below her. She goes off to live at the palace and compete for someone she doesn’t even want. During her stay the palace is under constant attacks from the rebels. As America Singer spends more time with Prince Maxon she realises that the life she always dreamed of would not compare to the life she never imagined. The Selection is a great read for the romantic at heart.


Friday, 19 February 2016

Clancy of the Undertow

'Clancy of the Undertow' is a stand-out teen novel by Brisbane author and bookseller, Christopher Currie.

Our heroine is Clancy, a sixteen year old girl who lives in a small town and feels like an outsider.
We follow Clancy's life as she attempts to navigate  a pathway.

Her family situation is in difficult territory as her father is involved in a traffic incident where two teenagers die and her family is ostracized.

The relationship with her two male siblings is often hilarious, totally believable and sharp. Quarrels and inter-personal communication are typical of daily family life.

Clancy is keenly aware that she is a nerd, with interests such as 'nature club' adding to her lack of social status. Clancy is funny and flawed - time and time again she makes the wrong decisions and upsets those around her. Clancy develops a crush on one of the 'cool crowd' and the reader soon realises that her 'crush' may not have her best interests at heart.

Engaging storyline and a well-written novel, touching on areas such as bullying, gay issues, and friendship.


- Ann 

Wednesday, 23 December 2015


'Exposure' is one of Mal Peet's soccer novels, featuring the sports journalist Paul Faustino.

Don't worry if, like me, you are totally clueless about soccer. Keep reading this amazing book!

Otello is a South American soccer player who has been transferred from a northern team to play for the well known southern team, Rialto for a price - fifty million dollars. The stakes are high. He meets and falls in love with Desmeralda, a singer with a mega star notoriety. The pair marry but their marriage attracts enemies. There are those who wish to use this multi-racial superstar couple for their own ends and who wish to ultimately destroy them.

Paul Faustino is a cynical but likeable character who has been following Otello's journey and he becomes embroiled in a scandal that takes him far out of his depth.

'Exposure' is original and engaging. I couldn't put this book down. Once I had finished I then began to read  Mal Peet's other young adult novels which are also outstanding.

I was saddened when I recently discovered that Mal Peet died earlier this year (2015) so it is fitting to acknowledge the wonderful contribution he has made to teen fiction.

~ Ann

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Flywheel

'The Flywheel

' is the debut novel of Sydney writer, Erin Gough.
It's a snapshot of life seen through the eyes of seventeen year old Delilah.

Due to a myriad of circumstances (parents have recently separated, father is currently on holidays, current manager of cafe has returned to Ireland) Del ends up running her father's cafe, the Flywheel. The situation is unstable and precarious; she hires Hamish who is lazy and uncooperative. 'Clearly my recruitment skills need some honing' bemoans Del.

On top of this Del is still at secondary school where she is bullied mercilessly for being gay.
Del is quite a character though-largely resilient and able to rise above the belittling attitudes of her school peers. Which is just as well.

And then there's the 'flamenco girl'-the beautiful Rosa who dances flamenco at the tapas bar across the road. Del has been watching Rosa for a long time but doesn't know how to approach her. Is it possible for her to confide her feelings for Rosa without the situation ending in disaster?

'The Flywheel' is a wonderful rollercoaster of a journey and as a reader you will get behind Del as she battles through the many obstacles that stand in her way. 

Recommended teen fiction.


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