I’ve been in a bit of a reading and blogging slump lately, and I’ve been wracking my brain for post ideas. So I’ve decided to do a recommendations series on this blog. I love talking about books that I enjoyed and you guys seem to love getting recommendations from me. I’ll feature three books in each of my posts and hopefully, you’ll discover something new to fall in love with!
Full credit goes to Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts for the title, ‘Winning with Jenna’. Last year, I had planned to do a bookish awards post to talk about my favourites of the year and Joey came up with the title for me. I never ended up creating that favourites post so I thought I’d use it now.
Today, I’m going to kick off my recommendation series with Australian YA contemporaries. A lot of my readers seem to be really interested in Aussie YA but have no idea where to start. Here are three of my favourite contemporaries, written by Australian authors.
Seventeen-year-old Del drops out of high school when her romance with another girl goes horribly wrong. Preferring chaos to bullying, Del makes it her mission to save her dad’s crumbling café, the Flywheel, while he ‘finds himself’ overseas.
Accompanied by her charming troublemaker best friend Charlie, Del sets out to save the cafe, keep Charlie out of prison, and maybe get a date with Rosa, the beautiful flamenco dancer from across the road. But when life is messy enough as it is, can girl-on-girl romance ever have a happy ending?
This was a wonderful LGBTQ+ novel that fans of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda would love! It was heartwarming and funny and I absolutely adored the characters in this book. This book is set in Sydney and features lots of places that I’m familiar with. When I read this one last year, it was unavailable outside of Australia but now you can get the ebook from the Kindle store and the physical book from Book Depository.
Alice is fifteen, with hair as red as fire and skin as pale as bone, but something inside her is broken. She has acquired brain injury, the result of an assault, and her words come out slow and slurred. But when she writes, heartwords fly from her pen. She writes poems to express the words she can’t say and leaves them in unexpected places around the town.
Manny was once a child soldier. He is sixteen and has lost all his family. He appears to be adapting to his new life in this country, where there is comfort and safety, but at night he runs, barefoot, to escape the memory of his past. When he first sees Alice, she is sitting on the rusty roof of her river-house, looking like a carving on an old-fashioned ship sailing through the stars.
I absolutely loved this book when I read it back in January. It was beautifully written, with a strange combination of prose and poetry. The characters and relationships in this book are fantastic and they’ll stay with me for a long time to come.
The Swimmer. The Rebel. The Nerd.
All Ryan, Harley and Miles had in common was Isaac. They lived different lives, had different interests and kept different secrets. But they shared the same best friend. They were sidekicks. And now that Isaac’s gone, what does that make them?
The Sidekicks is a masterpiece. It is such a relatable book and really packs a punch, despite being under 250 pages long. It was a powerful story about grief and camaraderie, and how even the most different of people can become friends. I highly recommend this one to anyone who wants a realistic and relatable read!
I hope you liked my first Winning with Jenna post. I’ll probably feature Australian YA fantasy novels in my next recommendations post but let me know what else you’d like to see.