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March 24, 2015

Class Notes --- Guest Post by Elise Andrew, Sydney, Australia


Even though is based in New York City, one of the best things about being a website is that we’re connected to people who love young adult literature from all over the world! We asked one of our readers --- Elise Andrew, a freshman at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia who wants to be a YA author, herself --- to tell us a bit about the current YA scene where she lives. Below, see what she and her former high school book club members are reading --- turns out U.S. choices and Australian choices aren’t so different!

I have been reading books for as long as I can remember. Since I was young, I was in awe of the way a book could take you into a new world with new experiences. Some people thought it was weird that I felt like the characters in my favourite books were my friends, and it wasn’t until high school that I finally found people who loved books as much as I did.

We started a book club at school, which mostly consisted of us trying to yell over one another, but I looked forward to it every week. Reading and books became regular conversation topics with my friends, and while some of us read all the time and others only occasionally, reading is something we all continue to enjoy.

For this blog post, I wrote a bit about a book I just read and asked them to do the same --- see the results, below!



Sandy Hall’s first novel was so unlike anything I’ve read before. It tells the story of Gabe and Lea, whose relationship is depicted from 14 other perspectives. I found it a refreshing novel about the magic of falling in love. At times the plot did appear to drag out a bit, but overall it was a well-written and enjoyable novel.

Rating: 4/5
Elise A.



This is the second book in the Chaos Walking trilogy. The book consist of two characters named Todd and Viola who are battling to find a side in a war against the ‘Ask’ and the ‘Answer’. I really enjoyed reading this book as the plot has many twists and turns and you develop emotional attachments to the characters. The reader is also choosing between which sides they deem to be good or evil, which makes the book even more intriguing as both the characters you love are on different sides.

Rating: 4.5/5
Caitlin A.



TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was the first book to make me realise what literature is capable of. No longer was reading simply a medium through which one can escape and experience a rollicking story; books became portals into reality. MOCKINGBIRD managed, in its uniquely smile-inducing manner, to teach the child in me what being an adult required, and reminded the young adult in me that childhood is all at once exciting, bewildering, challenging and irreplaceable.

Rating: 5/5
Nicholas C.


SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson

SPEAK is about Miranda, a girl who is completely alienated because she called the cops on a party, upsetting pretty much everyone at school. No one knows what really happened, however. In SPEAK, Miranda must learn to speak up for herself, and the book addresses some pretty serious issues. While the book handles some important topics, I found it difficult to really connect with Miranda. While I didn’t mind reading it, it certainly isn’t one of my favourites.

Rating: 3/5
Emma F.



Set in Victorian London, DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE presents itself as a “story of a door.” The novel follows the life of a local lawyer situated amidst the chaos of the infamous Edward Hyde. Stevenson’s novel is a fascinating example of the gothic genre, offering an interesting psychological view and an altogether different read.

Rating: 4.5/5
Harry S.


THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak

Zusak’s novel follows Liesel, who, in the midst of war-torn Germany, steals her first book. She learns to read from her new adopted father and begins an incredible journey of books and words. Things become difficult, however, when they take in Max, a Jew escaping Hitler’s persecution. THE BOOK THIEF is an absolutely brilliant story, cleverly narrated by Death, that will make you fall in love with its characters and the journey of words they weave.

Rating: 5/5
James T.