Sunday, October 31, 2010

Leviathan: a silver inky candidate

My first blog post! oh the excitement!

Alek is a prince without a throne. On the run from his own people, he has only a fighting machine and a small band of men.

Deryn is a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She must fight for her cause- and protect her secret- at all costs.

A steampunk retelling of the first world war? could YA books get any better than this? Scott Westerfeld wrote it? apparently they can.

The way Scott Westerfeld develops his characters is fantastic, despite the fact that they live in an unimaginable world and do amazing things they are still wonderfully accessible and real. Deryn may be a typical tomboy but she still retains hidden depths revealed throughout the novel. I've always been a fan of dual perspective books and with the characters; Deryn and Alek Westerfeld has achieved harmony between two radically different protagonists.
Despite this book being aimed at the YA genre Westerfeld has managed to once more create a book that overlaps genres and audiences.

Leviathan is a beautiful book, the writing coupled with the illustrations serve to create a whole different world, a world of war machines and massive flying creatures and an ultimately believable world. Definitely in the running for the silver inky and most definitely my choice for the winner. You can vote for Leviathan here


Thursday, October 28, 2010

a gold Inky - Swerve

Swerve by Phillip Gwynne

From the author of Deadly, Unna and Nukkin Ya this is very different. Hugh is a cello-playing private schoolboy from Sydney with a secret obsession for muscle cars. An old hippie man with a long ponytail has been hanging out the front of his school, trying to talk to him. It turns out he's Hugh’s grandfather - long estranged from the family - and he's got a proposition. Poppy wants Hugh to drive them to Uluru in his '69 Monaro. Hugh falls in love with the car instantly, plus he wants to get his hours up (he's still on his ls) and not even the audition in a week's time at the conservatorium can stop him. Hugh is totally out of his comfort zone with Poppy and away from his posh Sydney life. With Poppy he has to mingle with rough types of people and is confronted by the girls he constantly refers to as 'skanks'.
Predictably, things don't go to plan on the road. There's the hitchhikers manifesto, which dictates they must pick up all hitchhikers: not always a great idea, there's the runaway and then the psycho... But they meet some great people at truck stops and they camp in swags off the beaten track (checking into the million star motel!) And they wrestle with the powerful car, which remains the main character in the book. This is a moving and funny novel.

You can vote for Swerve here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

a silver Inky - The Sky is Everywhere

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Walker Books)

I think this is my pick for the silver Inky.
For a book that is about a girl coming to terms with the sudden death of her beloved sister it is wonderfully heartwarming and sexy and fun. It is sad in parts, very much so, but it's not doleful.

This is Lennon's story (Lennie to most people). Her older sister Bailey has recently died unexpectedly from a fatal arrhythmia and the book explores Lennie's grieving process and her relationships with her Gram (who has looked after her and bailey since their mother took off exploring), her uncle Big, her friends and two different boys. Toby is Bailey's boyfriend - equally as adrift and devastated as Lennie and the two fall - horribly - into each other's arms for comfort. Joe Fontaine is the new boy, a total dream, and it is with him Lennie (or John Lennon, as he calls her) feels like she can play music once more.
It's a beautiful read, full of blowsy, overblown language. (Oh, there are a lot of flowers in this story too).
you can vote for it here.

John Marden writes to the Teen Bookclub

Dear Teen Bookclubbers -

John Marsden read everything we wrote about Tomorrow, When the War Began.

He wrote to say:

"I read the comments and love them. They use some pretty powerful words. And needless to say I was pretty happy with the number of points they assigned the book."

Isn't that great? Thanks for being great bookclubbers, guys. And thank you John for being brilliant.

If anyone is interested in joining the bookclub, please call 9689 0661 or email

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A silver inky- Will Grayson, Will Grayson

What if you were somewhere you never expected to be and met someone with your name?

What if the girl you didn't think you were interested in started being interested in you?

What if your best friend started writing a musical about your life... and it made you look lame?

What if you are depressed?

What if you're in love with someone you've never met?

And what is the story with the guy walking around with your name?

What is not to love about this one. Co-written by the super fabulous (I LOVE HIM) John Green and the excellent David Levithan (he co-wrote Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist with Rachel Cohn) Will Grayson, Will Grayson is about two rather different boys with the same name that bump into each other in a completely unexpected place (by unexpected I mean a porn shop). It is brilliant, completely extravagant and while I found the ending a wee bit bananas, somehow it worked (I think). And as for Tiny Cooper (author of the musical that makes Green's Will Grayson look lame), well, what is not to love?! He is utterly fabulous. For me he was the highlight of the book, as well as character that made his way into my mental archive of favourite book people.

Read it. Actually, read everything John Green has ever written, and then read Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. You will not regret it (and if you do it isn't my fault, you probably just have suspect taste...)

This is my pick for the Silver Inky. You can vote for it here.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

a gold Inky - Liar

Secrets, lies, murder and betrayal.
Micah Wilkins is a liar. But when her boyfriend, Zach, dies under brutal circumstances, the shock might be enough to set her straight. Or maybe not. Especially when lying comes as naturally to her as breathing. Was Micah dating Zach? Did they kiss? Did she see him the night he died? And is she really hiding a family secret? Where does the actual truth lie?
Liar is a breathtaking roller-coaster read that will have you up all night, desperately seeking for something true.

Liar is one of the very best books I have read recently - I stayed up long past my bedtime to find out what happened. And even now, months later, I am still not completely sure. Micah is a brilliant, though remarkably unreliable, character who forces her way off the page and into your life. It's controversial, compelling and certainly a strong contender for the Gold Inky.

Justine is another Australian author living away from our shores, but we love her nonetheless. Liar is published by Allen & Unwin and you can vote for it here.


Monday, October 18, 2010

a gold Inky - Stolen

It happened like this.
I was stolen from an airport.
Taken from everything I knew,
everything I was used to.
Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him. This is my story.
A letter from nowhere.

This is an incredible book, well deserving of its gold Inky.
Gemma is a great character, likeable and relatable. But it is her kidnapper, Ty, that really wowed me. He is a very complex, ambiguous and entirely mysterious character. Why did he capture Gemma? Why, if he had decided to steal her away from her family, her life, did he also decide not to harm her in any way, and make everything as comfortable for her as he could, going as far as buying her dresses in her favourite colour?

Powerful. Thought provoking. Very confronting. I was completely absorbed the whole way through, and also, by the end, feeling very conflicted and a little bit in love with Ty.
Highly, highly recommended.

Lucy Christopher, though currently living in the UK, is a local to the West - and an absolute favourite of the Younger Sun Bookshop!
Vote for Stolen here. Stolen published by Chicken House.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Inky shortlist

The Inky awards are an annual youth choice award for the very best Australian and overseas Young Adult books of the year. This year's selection was announced just last week. It's a great list!

The Gold Inky (Australian)

Liar by Justine Larbalestier
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healy
Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager
Swerve by Phillip Gwynne
Stolen by Lucy Christopher

The Silver Inky (International)

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan & John Green
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Over the next few weeks The Younger Sun staff will give a quick review and run-down of each book. Keep your eyes peeled...

If you are under 20 you can vote for your favourite books here.
For more information see the Inside a Dog website (Centre for Youth Literature, State Library of Victoria)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

cave baby

i love julia donaldson's books; she created the gruffalo, room on the broom and tiddler to name just a few.

i also love emily gravett's books; the odd egg, meerkat mail and little mouse's big book of fears being a selection of my favourites.

and right now, right here, and for the very first time ever, we present (err.. i suppose actually it is the publisher Macmillan that presents) to you an entirely delightful collaboration from misses donaldson and gravett that collects the best elements from both contributors (gravett's amazing pictures and donaldson's wordplay), and jumbles them together and onto the back of a woolly mammoth for a ride through caves artfully decorated with five legged tigers, long curly hares, and maybe, just maybe... a big brown bear.

love it. especially gravett's pictures.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Children's classics made new

Charlotte's Web, E B White (Puffin)

Always a favourite story for young and old, Charlotte's Web is now out in a beautiful hardback edition, with all the same Garth Williams illustrations - but now in colour.

Wilbur didn't want food, he wanted love. He wanted a friend - someone who would play with him.
One spring morning a little girl called Fern rescues a runt and names him Wilbur. But then Wilbur is sent to live on a farm where he meets Charlotte, a beautiful large grey spider. They become best friends and, when Wilbur is faced with a dreadful fate, Charlotte must find a very clever way to save him.

The Little Prince, Joann Sfar (Walker Books)

From the original story by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry comes this new graphic novelisation of the story of the little prince from the small planet with only three volcanoes who learns just where he belongs.

While I love the original story and think it is quite beautiful - the graphic novel is even better. The most important messages are highlighted and made simpler, while still retaining their poignancy. And it's very funny in parts, too.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl (Puffin)

The wonderful story of Willy Wonka, Charlie and Grandpa Bucket and the Oompa Loompas is now in hardback - and in colour!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

You're in the museum now and anything can happen!

Museum of Thieves 1: The Keepers, Lian Tanner (Allen&Unwin)

Blurb: In the city of Jewel, impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime and Goldie Roth is both impatient and bold. When she escapes the clutches of the Blessed Guardians to find haven at the Museum of Dunt, an unforgettable adventure begins that will unlock hidden mysteries, dark secrets and awaken dangerous enemies. The thrilling first book in The Keepers trilogy.

What we think: Well, to be honest I am only a chapter in. But already - totally gripped. The children of Jewel are attached, by chains around their wrists, to their parents when at home or the Blessed Guardians at all other hours - apparently to protect them from the dangers of the world. Goldie is instantly a likeable character - gutsy and curious - and I know I'm going to love her.

Now please excuse me so I can get back to reading...