Ok, I shouldn't write that with an exclamation point, because it's quite depressing that four days ago I was lying on a beach (Bondi, to be exact) and it was 25°C (77°F) ... and now it's barely 25°F. (Let's not get started on the wind chill!)
But I was so lucky to have such an incredible trip, and I will soon share gorgeous photos so we can all collectively sigh in wonder at my favorite place in the Southern hemisphere.
For now, though, let's talk about books! Paperbacks are quite expensive in Oz (around $18!), and luggage space was limited, so I came home with only four books. What a feat of willpower! I was tempted to throw out clothes to make more room. So many incredible YA novels come out of Australia, from authors like Markus Zusak, Melina Marchetta, Jaclyn Moriarty, and Justine Larbalestier ... but they're not all available in the U.S.!
While in Melbourne, I stopped at The Little Bookshop, an indie children's bookstore. Sadly, the large, main location of the store was closed for a couple weeks after Christmas (unheard of in America, but quite common in Australia), but I did get to shop at a smaller location, where I purchased THE EXTINCTION GAMBIT, the first in The Extraordinaires series.
According to reviews, a quote from the novel sums up the plot: "So the Olympic Games are being jeopardized by a band of evil sorcerers who want my brain,” Kingsley said, “while I try to find my foster father who may have been abducted by creatures from the dawn of time.” Sounds fun!
The YA selection in the smaller TLB store was limited, so I also went to Dymock's, which is like the Aussie Barnes and Noble. There I bought three books:
|A contemporary, dual-POV YA that was recommended by bookstore employees ... and blurbed by Melina Marchetta.|
|My husband's choice, an Aussie YA classic.|
|Continuing my Harry-Potter-series-purchased-in-other-countries trend.|
So far, I'm about halfway through WILDLIFE, and I'm loving it! Here's the summary from the publisher:
Life? It's simple: be true to yourself.
The tricky part is finding out exactly who you are...
"In the holidays before the dreaded term at Crowthorne Grammar's outdoor education camp two things out of the ordinary happened.
A picture of me was plastered all over a twenty-metre billboard.
And I kissed Ben Capaldi."
Boarding for a term in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sibylla expects the gruesome outdoor education program - but friendship complications, and love that goes wrong? They're extra-curricula.
Enter Lou from Six Impossible Things - the reluctant new girl for this term in the great outdoors. Fragile behind an implacable mask, she is grieving a death that occurred almost a year ago. Despite herself, Lou becomes intrigued by the unfolding drama between her housemates Sibylla and Holly, and has to decide whether to end her self-imposed detachment and join the fray.
And as Sibylla confronts a tangle of betrayal, she needs to renegotiate everything she thought she knew about surviving in the wild.
A story about first love, friendship and NOT fitting in.
There were so many YA novels that I wanted to buy, and I'm definitely going to be looking into getting them in the U.S.
- Here's an Aussie indie bookstore's YA recommendations, if you're interested in what Oz has to offer! http://www.readings.com.au/collection/recommended-australian-young-adult-fiction
- A YA blogger's favorite Aussie YA reads: http://inkcrush.blogspot.com/p/aussie-ya.html
Any Aussie YAs to recommend? Leave it in the comments!