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: ‘Unnecessary Drama’ by Nina Kenwood

Librarian Jenny holds a copy of Unnecessary Drama

Eighteen-year-old Brooke is a lover of rules, control and order. She is also a people-pleaser. Arriving in Melbourne to start uni and join a new share house, Brooke has her sights set on impressing everyone and doing everything the right way. In the shiny new future in her mind, Brooke is super-prepared, always in control, successful at uni, and great friends with her new housemates.

Brooke’s meticulously planned future, however, is interrupted when her former high school crush, Jesse, shows up unexpectedly as one of her new housemates. Brooke and Jesse have not spoken to each other for four years since an incident at school and Brooke is determined to set clear rules in place to ensure she has as little as possible to do with Jesse. Never will she forgive Jesse for his past actions.

But will Brooke be able to maintain these rules? And can she successfully hide her past with Jesse and ensure she sticks to their share house rule of ‘no unnecessary drama’?

This is the first novel I have read by local author Nina Kenwood and I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining and well-paced romcom! It is a super-fun exploration of leaving home and settling into adult life. The characters and setting are genuine, relatable and vividly depicted (reading this book brought up a few memories for me—good and bad—of my share house days!) And Brooke’s anxious, controlling behaviour propels the narrative as she entangles herself in some extraordinarily elaborate (and frequently hilarious) situations.

I thoroughly recommend checking out Unnecessary Drama. Available for loan using your Wyndham City Libraries membership.

Reviewed by Education & Youth Team Leader, Jenny

YA Book of the Week: ‘My Mechanical Romance’ by Alexene Farol Follmuth

Librarian Caitlin holds a copy of My Mechanical Romance

 

While I tend to pick up fantasy and dystopian YA novels, I'd seen 'My Mechanical Romance' being raved about on social media and couldn't pass up the chance to read it when our copies arrived at the library!

Bel has been thrown in the deep end for her senior year of high school; she's been transferred to a new school where there are AP classes aplenty, everyone's pestering her about submitting her college applications and all her peers seem to know exactly what their future holds... except Bel. But when forgetting about an assignment turns into revealing a passion and talent for engineering, Bel finds herself being forced to try out for the robotics club where she meets Teo Luna, a potential ally - until they start butting heads.

✨ "Honestly? Physics is easy. What's hard is feeling like I want to be invisible all the time." ✨

'My Mechanical Romance' has been compared to TikTok sensation 'The Love Hypothesis' since it focuses greatly on girls in STEM, the challenges they face, and how our characters overcome the hurdles that come their way to find their places in the world. Each of our characters were well-crafted and lovable, and Bel's character development over the course of the novel was fantastic to read about.

'My Mechanical Romance' is available in book📚 and eBook📱 (via BorrowBox) formats using your library card. Click here to reserve or borrow a copy!

Reviewed by Education & Youth Librarian, Caitlin.

YA Book of the Week: ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding

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William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is considered a classic, and for good reason. This isn’t your average “boys get lost, have an adventure on an abandoned remote island and conflict arises as people wrestle for control.” Well, it is, but Lord of the Flies is anything but average.

William Golding manages to bring together themes of civilisation and social organisation and how they can be broken down by those who seek power. A truly wonderful exploration of individuality vs groupthink and rational vs emotional actions.

Filled with believable characters whose morals are guided by their own instincts for survival, self-preservation, and selfish disregard for others, Lord of the Flies strips back the layers of society and reveals that the only difference between us and those boys on the island is a thin veneer of comforts that we often take for granted.

Although you will probably read Lord of the Flies for school, I recommend you check it out anyway. Available for loan using your Wyndham City Libraries membership - To borrow your copy today, click here! 

Reviewed by Education & Youth Librarian, Declan

YA Book of the Week: ‘Gallant’ by V.E. Schwab

Caitlin holds a copy of Gallant

Despite being an avid YA reader and seeing her books recommended countless times, I had yet to pick up a V.E. Schwab novel until I saw the brand-new copies of Gallant arrive at the library! This book’s synopsis hooked me from the get-go, and I couldn't stop thinking about it - so I knew I had to read it ASAP.

Olivia Prior grew up in the Merilance School for Girls with only her mother's old journal (and the entries that slowly descended into mad scribbles) to remind her that she wasn't always alone. That is until Olivia receives an invitation calling her home - to Gallant. But when Olivia arrives, nothing is as it seems. Gallant is hiding secrets, and Olivia is determined to uncover them.

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when delving into this book, but I can say with absolute confidence that I enjoyed this book immensely. V.E. Schwab's writing style was flawless and so gripping - a comment that I have noticed on many other reviews, as well. The way she wrote and the way the story flowed was so effortless and made it easy to sink into the story and merely go along with whatever she had to tell us.

Here's an example to pique your interest...

"By now, the rain has slowed from pounding fists to the soft, infrequent tapping of bored fingers."

I would highly recommend picking up V.E. Schwab's 'Gallant' and any of her other titles - I definitely will be!

'Gallant' is available for borrowing in book📚 and audio🎧 formats using your library card. Click here to reserve or borrow a copy!

Reviewed by Education & Youth Librarian, Caitlin.

YA Book of the Week: ‘The Eyes of Tamburah’ by Maria V. Snyder

Image of staff member holding the book The Eyes of Tamburah

Reviewed by Emily, Children’s Librarian 🤓

After reading ‘Poison Study’ and becoming absolutely OBSESSED with it, I was keen to read Maria V. Snyder’s recent ‘Archives of the Invisible Sword’ series. The first book, ‘The Eyes of Tamburah’, does not disappoint – it’s a fast-paced novel with intricate world-building, high stakes and memorable characters.

In a desert land where the burning sun can kill you in minutes, Zirdai is a sprawling underground city where the more elite you are, the deeper you dwell. Shyla is a young researcher who lives close to the surface. She specialises in ancient texts and maps and is often hired to find lost treasures. Shyla is also sun-kissed: an outcast of society since birth because of the colour of her hair. One day, she is accused of stealing The Eyes of Tamburah, ancient and valuable treasures that are rumoured to have magic powers. Shyla sets out to clear her name and save her friend Banqui, who has been imprisoned by the formidable Water Prince.

There is a lot of heart-pumping action in this book and lots of twists and turns as the mystery unravels. I often found it very hard to put the book down, especially during a certain gruesome and nail-biting scene towards the end (don’t worry, no spoilers here!). There are many characters, but all of them are striking and unique, which is something that I love about Snyder’s writing. If you love fantasy worlds, life and death stakes, and solid plots, then this is the novel for you!

I recommend this for ages 15+.

To borrow a copy today, click here!

 

YA Book of the Week: ‘Sadie Starr’s Guide to Starting Over’ by Miranda Luby

Librarian Jenny holds an ereader with a copy of Sadie Starr's guide to starting over displayed in colour

Sadie Starr is a perfectionist and a big fan of starting over. For Sadie, life is full of opportunities to be thinner, smarter, more popular, more academically successful, and more in control. When her dad announces the family will be relocating to Melbourne, Sadie sees this as the perfect opportunity to erase her prior identity and create a better version of herself.

Sadie soon finds herself in her new city starting at the prestigious Morebrae school. To her surprise, Sadie finds herself rapidly drawn into the inner circle of the school’s most popular girls—and the recipient of one the much-prized pink badges the group wear to show their support for women’s rights. Her new perfect life starts to unravel, however, when Sadie discovers her new friends have misinterpreted an incident involving her neighbour Jack and fellow student Lauren, leading to terrible consequences.

This is the debut novel by local author Miranda Luby. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope she has another in the works! I had rom com vibes at the start of the book (there are many moments of humour around Sadie’s awkward navigation of romance). As the book progresses, however, Sadie’s inner-struggles are slowly revealed and the book provides a thought-provoking exploration of perfectionism, unrealistic family and school expectations, anxiety, bullying, feminism, the impact of rigid black and white thinking, and eating disorders.

I highly recommend checking out Sadie Starr’s Guide to Starting Over. Click here to reserve or borrow a copy today!

Reviewed by Education & Youth Team Leader, Jenny

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