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Nominees for Book of the Year: Older Readers
Between Us by
Publication Date: 2018-05-01
Is it possible for two very different teenagers to fall in love despite high barbed-wire fences and a political wilderness between them? Anahita is passionate, curious and determined. She is also an Iranian asylum seeker who is only allowed out of detention to attend school. On weekdays, during school hours, she can be a 'regular Australian girl'. Jono needs the distraction of an infatuation. In the past year his mum has walked out, he's been dumped and his sister has moved away. Lost and depressed, Jono feels as if he's been left behind with his Vietnamese single father, Kenny. Kenny is struggling to work out the rules in his new job; he recently started work as a guard at the Wickham Point Detention Centre. He tells Anahita to look out for Jono at school, but quickly comes to regret this, spiraling into suspicion and mistrust. Who is this girl, really? What is her story? Is she a genuine refugee or a queue jumper? As Jono and Anahita grow closer, Kenny starts snooping behind the scenes ...
Small Spaces by
Tash Carmody has been traumatised since childhood, when she witnessed her gruesome imaginary friend Sparrow lure young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. At the time nobody believed Tash, and she has since come to accept that Sparrow wasn't real. Now fifteen and mute, Mallory's never spoken about the week she went missing. As disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. And she realises Mallory is the key to unlocking the truth about a dark secret connecting them. Does Sparrow exist after all? Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?
Lenny's Book of Everything by
Lenny, small and sharp, has a younger brother Davey who won't stop growing - and at seven is as tall as a man. Raised by their mother, they have food and a roof over their heads, but not much else. The bright spot every week is the arrival of the latest issue of the Burrell's Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia. Through the encyclopedia, Lenny and Davey experience the wonders of the world - beetles, birds, quasars, quartz - and dream about a life of freedom and adventure. But as Davey's health deteriorates, Lenny realises that some wonders can't be named.
Changing Gear by
Merrick Hilton's done a runner. His folks think he's studying, but the real world has been calling for years and he can't ignore it any longer. A postie bike, a bedroll and a big sky - that's all he needs. But there's no telling how he'll handle the rough stuff, let alone roadkill, stolen oranges and unexpected romance. And in the real world nothing goes entirely as planned. Thankfully Victor - the old bloke he meets on the road - knows a thing or two about broken bike chains. And broken hearts.
The Bogan Mondrian by
'There are worse things than school.' Luke sleepwalks through his days wagging school, swimming at the reservoir and eating takeaway pizza. That is until Charlotte shows up. Rumour is she got expelled from her city school and her family moved to the Blue Mountains for a fresh start. But when Luke's invited to her house, he discovers there's a lot more going on than meets the eye.
Art of Taxidermy by
Publication Date: 2019-08-13
Shortlisted, Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature, 2019 Commended, Children's Book Council of Australia, 2019 Longlisted, Gold Inky Award, 2019 Lottie, the daughter of German migrants, develops a fascination for death after losing her mother at a young age. When Lottie begins collecting dead animals, her aunt tries to redirect her energies into more 'feminine' activities. But her father encourages her interest, recognizing a scientist's curiosity. A heartbreaking verse novel about love and death, grief and beauty, and the very individual ways we make sense of it all.
The Boy Who Steals Houses by
Publication Date: 2020-07-21
Can two broken boys find their perfect home? By turns heartbreaking and heartwarming, this is a gorgeously told, powerful story. Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he's ever known. Now Sam's trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he's caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing - each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. Sam finds himself inextricably caught up in their life, and falling for the beautiful Moxie. But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him. Heartfelt storytelling, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Jennifer Niven.
How it Feels to Float by
Biz knows how to float. She has her people, posse, her mum and the twins. She has Grace. And she has her dad, who tells her about the little kid she was, and who shouldn't be here but is. So Biz doesn't tell anyone anything. Not about her dark, runaway thoughts, not about kissing Grace or noticing Jasper, the new boy. And she doesn't tell anyone about her dad. Because her dad died when she was seven. And Biz knows how to float, right there on the surface - normal okay regular fine.
Ghost Bird by
Remember daughter, the world is a lot bigger than anyone knows. There are things that science may never explain. Maybe some things that shouldn't be explained. Stacey and Laney are twins - mirror images of each other - and yet they're as different as the sun and the moon. Stacey works hard at school, determined to get out of their small town. Laney skips school and sneaks out of the house to meet her boyfriend. When Laney disappears one night, Stacey can't believe she's just run off without telling her. As the days pass and Laney doesn't return, Stacey starts dreaming of her twin. The dreams are dark and terrifying, difficult to understand and hard to shake, but at least they tell Stacey one key thing - Laney is alive. It's hard for Stacey to know what's real and what's imagined and even harder to know who to trust. All she knows for sure is that Laney needs her help. Stacey is the only one who can find her sister. Will she find her in time?
When the Ground is Hard by
Adele Joubert loves being one of the popular girls at Keziah Christian Academy. She knows the upcoming semester at school is going to be great with her best friend Delia at her side. Then Delia dumps her for a new girl with more money, and Adele is forced to share a room with Lottie, the school pariah, who doesn't pray and defies teachers' orders. But as they share a copy of Jane Eyre, Lottie's gruff exterior and honesty grow on Adele, and Lottie learns to be a little sweeter. Together, they take on bullies and protect each other from the vindictive and prejudiced teachers. Then a boy goes missing on campus and Adele and Lottie must rely on each other to solve the mystery and maybe learn the true meaning of friendship.
Four Dead Queens by
Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington is one of Quadara's most skilled thieves, but when she steals an unexpectedly valuable package from a messenger she is soon entangled in a conspiracy that leads to all four of Quadara's queens being murdered. With no other choices and on the run from her former employer, Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, and together they race to discover who has killed the queens. But when dark secrets threaten their reluctant partnership and put everything at stake, Keralie and Varin must use all their daring to stay alive and untangle the mysteries behind the nation's four dead queens. An enthralling, fast-paced murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences.
This Is How We Change the Ending by
Publication Date: 2020-06-16
Sixteen-year-old Nate McKee is doing his best to be invisible. He's worried about a lot of things--how his dad treats Nance and his twin half-brothers; the hydro crop in his bedroom; his reckless friend, Merrick. Nate hangs out at the local youth centre and fills his notebooks with things he can't say. But when some of his pages are stolen, and his words are graffitied at the centre, Nate realises he has allies. He might be able to make a difference, change his life, and claim hisfuture. Or can he? Raw and real, funny and heartbreaking, this is a story about what it takes to fight back when you're not a hero.
The Little Wave by
When a Manly school sets out to bring a country class to the city for a beach visit, three very different kids find each other and themselves. Noah is fearless in the surf. Being at the beach makes him feel free. So where does his courage go when his best mate pushes him around? Lottie loves collecting facts about bugs, but she wishes her dad would stop filling their lonely house with junk. She doesn't know what to do about it. Jack wants to be a cricket star, but first he has to get to school and look after his little sister. Especially if he wants to go on the class trip and see the ocean for the first time.
The Thing about Oliver by
Eleven year old Tilly dreams of becoming a marine scientist. She'll have to learn to swim and snorkel. But she lives in a drought stricken town with her mum and younger brother Oliver, who is autistic. Oliver needs so many different kinds of therapy that there's never any time or money left over for swimming lessons. When Mum loses her job and decides to move the family to the Queensland coast, Tilly is excited and terrified all at once. Is this her chance to finally learn to swim? Will her dream of snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef come true? Or will so many changes all at once prove too much for the whole family?
The Dog Runner by
'We're gonna starve if we stay here,' Emery said. 'If we're gonna go, best go now.' And he said it like going was something easy. Like all we have to do is walk away. Ella and her brother Emery are alone in a city that's starving to death. If they are going to survive, they must get away, upcountry, to find Emery's mum. But how can two kids travel such big distances across a dry, barren, and dangerous landscape? Well, when you've got five big doggos and a dry-land dogsled, the answer is you go mushing. But when Emery is injured, Ella must find a way to navigate them through rough terrain, and even rougher encounters with desperate people.
Catch a Falling Star by
It's 1979 and the sky is falling. Skylab, that is. Somewhere high above Frankie Avery, one of the world's first space stations is tumbling to Earth. And rushing back with it are old memories. Things twelve-year-old Frankie thought she'd forgotten. Things her mum won't talk about, and which her little brother Newt never knew. Or did he? Does he? Because as Skylab circles closer, Newt starts acting strangely. And while the world watches the sky, Frankie keeps her own eyes on Newt. Because if anyone's going to keep him safe, it's her. It always has been. But maybe this is something bigger than splinters and spiders and sleepwalking. Maybe a space station isn't the only thing heading straight for calamity.
The Glimme by
Lone Annie sees dragons in your future... She sees giants. She sees fire and water. She sees death. Finn's life in the village of Wichant is hard. Only his drawings of the wild coastline, with its dragon-shaped clouds and headlands that look like giants, make him happy. Then the strange housekeeper from a mysterious clifftop mansion sees his talent and buys him for a handful of gold and then reveals to him seven extraordinary paintings. Finn thinks the paintings must be pure fantasy - such amazing scenes and creatures can't be real! He's wrong. Soon he is going to slip through the veil between worlds and plunge into the wonders and perils of The Glimme.
The Secrets of Magnolia Moon by
Magnolia Moon is very good at keeping secrets. She knows just what to do with them, and has a way of talking to the jumpy ones to stop them causing trouble. Which is why people are always leaning and whispering: 'Can I tell you a secret?' Edwina Wyatt introduces a character whose irrepressible joy and vivid imagination will remind readers just how much can happen in a year of being nine.