Sunday, 2 February 2014

My 2013 reading lovelies

It's been nearly a month since the rash of end of year lists.  In an effort to be cool and break the rules I'll post some books that spun my wheels last year.  This isn't my ultimate favourite list (there'd be more titles) so much as the ones who tried something a little different.


Admittedly I am very late to that train but what a wonderful train to be on.  The unique and delightful mix of Brian K Vaughan's snark, philosophy and the grand olde (space) quest make all my receptors buzz. Add in the wonderful art work by Fiona Staples and I was a goner.  Straight up, this is my favourite comic book for the past year.


Part of my job is writing articles and giving interviews for a myriad of Australian media outlets.  It makes my brain spin but it also provides wonderful opportunities to share YA with the greater public.  Last week I spoke about Wildlife on the radio, Fiona Wood's sophomoric effort is all about the beauty of execution.  Two perspectives that bend and weave, drawing two very different girls into the same sphere.  It is no doubt a feminist novel that taps into the ways girls are twisted and torn by their own self image, their friends, sex and romance, and the media.  It attempts a lot and gets it all right.  Lou's grieving, Sib's dealing and it could be the start of a beautiful friendship.  (US release - summer 2014 - Little, Brown.)


If you weren't aware of my contemporary YA leaning you might be catching on While Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park was lovely, Fangirl made a larger impression on me.  It is the depiction of YA inception with a character who writes slash fan fiction about an invented book series that was loosely based on the Harry Potter series.  More importantly it about Cath reconciling her outward life with that of her online community and that speaks to many people in our society.  (Australian release - 1 April 2014 - Pan Macmillan.)

One and Only

Ignore the cover when considering reading this...please, I beg. 

I loathe the 'new adult' label as it has been well and truly commandeered by self-published authors who have no interest in teen experience.  One and Only has been the first NA novel where I've found myself recommending it.  So much so I feel like calling it YA out of some pissy need to reclaim it.  Viv Daniels (aka Diana Peterfreud) has heartily embraced soapish qualities and then promptly up ended them all.  Her subversion of the cliche is a joy to behold.  Seriously.  There may be a secret family storyline but this novel depicts a college experience where the future (career, not relationship), studying and working to survive (and paying for overpriced text books) is a reality.  There may be romance but ultimately it's about all facets of one girl's hard scrabble college life...not just the sexy times.

The First Third

It was such a relief to read an Australian young adult title with an emerging male voice.  Australian YA is dominated by the lovely ladies but the bulk of the gents have been in the publishing game a long time.  Will Kostakis isn't necessarily trying anything new with his exploration of family dynamics, however there is a strong beating heart at its centre.  The protagonist sounds like an actual male teen (another cause for celebration) ratcheting between moments of true connection, hilarious uncertainty, casual dismissiveness and love.

As you can see I am very much enjoying the simple premise, brilliant execution YA - what really impressed you last year?


Nomes said...

I'm definitely willing to ignore that viv daniels cover -- thanks for the rec :)

so lovely to see you in my newsfeed again - I always enjoy your thoughts and highly rate your recommendations :)

Kelly Jensen said...

Ahhh I am so glad you're blogging again!

I'm going to bump Wildlife way up on my to-read list. The last book I read you sent me was out of this world, so I'm REALLY looking forward to this one too.

Danielle said...

Yay & Yes to all - I got you onto 'Saga' ... YOU'RE WELCOME ;)