Each week our friendly library staff and special guests review their latest YA reads. Head over to our Instagram account @librariesinwyndham to see all of our recommendations.
YA Book of the Week - Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young
I’ve been watching the titles from this trilogy make their way in and out of our returns chutes this year, always catching my eye. I finally decided to give it a go, and wow… what an intense, thought-provoking and thrilling read it was! 'Girls with Sharp Sticks', by Suzanne Young, is a little mix of dystopian, sci-fi, action, mystery and slight romance. Something for everyone!
It tells the story of a group of teenage girls attending an elite, all-girls, boarding school called Innovations Academy. We quickly discover that the school is not like any other, and there appears to be a lot more going on behind the scenes. Under the watchful eye of their male professors and caretakers, the girls are taught how to be ‘good girls’ through subjects that teach them to be the best society has to offer…obedient, beautiful, flawless girls that anyone would be proud of. But our protagonist, the charming and loyal, Mena, starts to question her controlled existence. Mena’s curiosity and intelligence sparks an uprising from the girls of Innovations Academy, as she leads them on a journey to uncover the truth of their existence and purpose.
I found this book to be quite controversial and thought-provoking in the way that it depicted gender roles and explored issues around freedom, control and equality. The attitudes and themes presented by some of the characters on how girls ‘should’ behave were quite confronting, however, I think the author balanced this out by also depicting the girl’s strength, wisdom and wit. This book was engaging and exciting, with plot twists and turns that kept me guessing throughout. I highly recommend if you’re after a good psychological thriller.
This is the first book in a trilogy, followed by 'Girls With Razor Hearts' and 'Girls with Rebel Souls'. All three are available in eBook, eAudiobook and hard copy format. Head to our catalogue to borrow your copy today.
Reviewed by Education & Youth Librarian, KatyAnne.
📖📖 YA Book of the Week – The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold 📖📖
Reviewed by Education and Youth Librarian- Carrie 🤓😍
The Electric Kingdom tells the story of an apocalyptic world ravaged by a Global pandemic that makes coronavirus look like a walk in the park.
Carnivorous “flies”, which also carry a deadly Fly Flu (a kind of Alzheimer's-like memory loss that leads to death), has devastated the world, leaving behind only a portion of humanity.
The story is about a group of young survivors in New England whose parents have succumbed to the flies or fly flu.
Narrated by three main characters,18-year-old Nico and her dog, who are on a voyage to find a mythical portal in Manchester; Kit, a 12-year-old artist who has been raised in an abandoned cinema with his friends and are trying to reach an island refuge; and a mysterious Deliverer, who lives repeatedly trying to save, or at least help, the world.
These young survivors’ cross paths in the woods and small towns, attempting to evade the deadly swarms of flies, in their quest for safety, love and answers.
While there are plenty of post-apocalyptic novels to choose from, this near-future adventure novel presents a new way of looking at the genre; as a quiet, philosophical exploration of humanity; at its most earnest, vulnerable, and its most hopeful, even in an abandoned world, with a touch of science fiction around the edges.
Arnold's writing is almost poetic and exploring the beauty of humanity with realistic and kind characters, strangely hopeful and above all, a testament to the notion that even in an exterminated world, one person might find beauty in another.
A stunning cover, a cast of characters you’ll feel like you have known forever and plot twists everywhere; so many, in fact you won’t even know you just read one!, seriously there are so many details which may seem insignificant at first but when they connect together, your mind will be blown!!
A story about connectedness and the resilience of people, this creepy apocalyptic world will haunt you.
To borrow a copy from our catalogue click here
📚🌸 YA Book of the Week - ‘House of Hollow’ by Krystal Sutherland
I won’t lie – I picked this book because I liked the cover 😍 Shallow, I know. But ‘House of Hollow’ was a solid choice and definitely worth a read. I listened to the eAudiobook and became quickly immersed in the world of Iris Hollow, the story’s protagonist. Iris is the youngest of three sisters – all are beautiful, mysterious and strange, and share a deep bond stemming from an incident from their childhood. We learn that as children the sisters inexplicably disappeared from a city street in Scotland, only to reappear one month later without any memory of what happened to them 🧐
The story picks up ten years after their disappearance - Iris is completing high school, Vivi (the middle sister) is playing bass in a band and Grey (the eldest) is a wildly successful supermodel and fashion designer. From the start you can sense that something is off with these sisters, and Sutherland does a great job of giving the reader just enough breadcrumbs to want to keep following the trail. The action kicks off when a man wearing a bull skull starts making an appearance, and Iris and Vivi discover that Grey has disappeared 🔪 As they embark on a journey to find her, Iris and Vivi uncover uncomfortable secrets about their sister and about themselves.
If you like fairy tale-based fantasy mixed in with gore, ‘House of Hollow’ is the book for you 🦴🩸
To start reading ‘House of Hollow’ head to our catalogue.
🤓 Reviewed by Sophie, Education and Youth Services Librarian
📚YA Book of the Week – ‘Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology,’ edited by Danielle Binks 📚
I have had my eye on this anthology since it came out in 2017, and it has completely captured my heart 🥰 This is a heartwarming and deeply affecting collection of short stories by some of the best YA fiction authors in Australia. Not only did this book increase my love for local authors, but it also reminded me why YA fiction is my favourite genre to read! ❤
‘Begin, End, Begin’ is a collection of ten short stories linked by the theme of beginnings and endings. These stories capture experiences such as the thrill of first love, the difficulty of coming to terms with change, and all the pain and wonder that comes with growing up.
With works by Amie Kaufman, Will Kostakis, Alice Pung, Michael Pryor, Melissa Keil, Ellie Marney, Lili Wilkinson, Gabrielle Tozer, Danielle Binks and Jaclyn Moriarty, it is dang near impossible for me to choose a favourite. They all moved me in different ways, and they all beautifully capture the theme of new beginnings. I will say that Lili Wilkinson’s ‘Oona Underground’ blew me away with its spellbinding imagery, and Will Kostakis’ ‘I Can See the Ending’ has changed my perspective on life in a wonderful way.
This is an outstanding read, and I encourage any lover of YA fiction to dive in! You can pick and choose which stories you would like to read first, and, like me, you might just discover a new favourite Aussie author. Another #LoveOzYA anthology, please!
🔗 To borrow or reserve a copy, click here!
🤓 Reviewed by Emily, Education and Youth Services Librarian.
YA Book of the Week: The F Team by Rawah Arja
The F Team is the debut novel of Sydney author Rawah Arja @rawaharja. I've been keen to check it out since I heard Rawah talk during the YA Showcase at the State Library of Victoria back in 2019. I was impressed by her sense of humour and her passion for her students, community and teaching. I was anticipating this would come through in this book - and I am pleased to confirm it does!
The F Team is a classic coming of age story, but with a uniquely Aussie flavour. The story sees the protagonist, Lebanese-Australian Tariq Nader, navigate his way through a range of experiences: his school being closed; a very, very determined principal; forced participation in a footy competition (which sees him teaming up with a bunch of wealthy white kids from Cronulla); his first love; competing in a poetry slam; learning forgiveness; and accepting his family and heritage.
As well as being a thoroughly entertaining read, The F Team does a great job exposing how the media is often quick to judge young people on the basis of race, religion, appearance and wealth. It manages to pack a punch, whilst also being moving and laugh out loud funny.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Highly recommended for young (and old) readers 12 and up ⭐️⭐️⭐️
📕 The F Team is available for loan with your Wyndham City Libraries membership in paperback and eBook formats. To check it out today, click here!
Reviewed by Jenny, Education & Youth Team Leader