LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Synopsis: On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.
Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.
But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.
Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.
If you don’t know what Sydney Writers’ Festival is, it’s this amazing literary festival that happens every year in the heart of Sydney. Recently relocated to Carriageworks, the festival is simply an incredible place to be. They also feature the amazing All Day YA program at Riverside Parramatta.
This will be my second year attending All Day YA, with my first being the initial moment I stepped out of the house and realised there was an entire day dedicated to YA loving bookworms. If there’s one thing I know about Sydney Writers’ Festival is it gets better and better every year.
All taking place at Riverside Parramatta on Saturday 5th of May, the lineup for this year’s All Day YA program is brilliant and here are my top picks!
From the Sidelines (10am – 11am)
This is possibly one of my most anticipated events! This panel will be answering these questions: Is it enough to include diverse voices if their only role is to prop up the hero? Why does the quiet kid always need to be saved by a cool romantic interest? I need to know.
Youth Curator Rameen Hayat will be chatting to Tamar Chnorhokian, Sarah Ayoub, Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Patrick Ness about diversity and tokenism in YA fiction and I cannot wait!
Burn The Book: Real Girls in YA (11:30am – 12:30pm)
This is right up my alley. This panel asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be a ‘real’ girl?
Chatting with Youth Curator Kellie Phan, Alicia Tuckerman, Rebecca Lim, Jenna Guillaume, and Tara Eglington will be exploring about all those experiences we have as young females: from friendships to frenemies to first loves. Breaking stereotypes and kicking ass – that’s what I love about realistic female characters and this panel sounds like a blast!
Architects of New Worlds (1:30pm – 2:30pm)
If that title of this panel doesn’t interest you, we’re gonna have a problem. I adore world building, especially in sci-fi and fantasy. Reading about post-apocoalyptic worlds, catastrophes or tyrannical regimes are aalways so fascinating. This panel sounds perfect for those who want to know what it’s like creating dystopian worlds that ignite the imagination, and forcing us as readers to reflect on our world.
Adele Walsh discovers how real-life concerns have influenced Jesse Andrews, an acclaimed novelist and screenwriter; Cally Black, who writes genre-smashing YA sci-fi; Claire G. Coleman, whose debut novel explores a future Australia that is colonised again; and Jay Kristoff, a bestselling fantasy and sci-fi author.
Bringing Imaginary Worlds to Life (3pm – 4pm)
This is almost like a companion panel to Architects of New Worlds, except we get to hear about MAPS! We all love maps. Right? Illustrators have their time in the spotlight as This panel discusses how they draw a fantasy-world map and show examples of their previous work. Expand your imagination with author and illustrator Chris Riddell, Oscar–winning animator Shaun Tan, award–winning children’s illustrator Nicki Greenberg and A Song of Ice & Fire illustrator Levi Pinfold.
The Future of Writing (4:30pm – 5:30pm)
I’m a writer. Sometimes I think I’m a terrible writer, but the other day I found an old manuscript and literally wanted to toss it out because I realised how much I’ve evolved as a writer. This panel simply speaks to me.
The panel features author Anna Todd, whose success with fan-fiction favourite After has resulted in publishing houses increasingly looking to online self-publishing for new stories with a built-in fan base. The panel will explore digital platforms, author freedom and technology in modern publishing. Three incredible writers – Tonya Alexandra, Alison Croggon and Jay Kristoff – sit down with YA author and Twitter famous Jenna Guillaume to chat about how technology is reshaping writers’ lives and how it has influenced their careers.
I don’t know about you, but I’m gearing up for May 5th. Come down, hang out with fellow bookworms, and have fun. You’ll also see me there so don’t hesitate to say hi!
The Things We Can’t Undo by Gabrielle Reid
Publisher: Ford Street Publishing
Synopsis: There’s no backspace key for life’s decisions.
Samantha and Dylan are in love – everyone knows it. So it’s no big deal when they leave a party for some time out together. But when malicious rumours surface about that night, each feels betrayed by the other.
Will Sam make a decision she can’t take back?
To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Synopsis: Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
It’s ya girl, Sofia. I’m back with another heckin’ blog post about my reading habits because I know you all love reading these (I know you do).
March was hectic af. I started my final year of uni. I’m now co-hosting a fantasy/sci-fi book club called The Name of the Book. I’ve been writing, editing and working non-stop.
I just wanna sleep for a few years, you know?
But I did get some reading done, and here are my mini reviews on my March reads.
Neverland by Margot McGovern
Publisher: Penguin Teen
Synopsis: Kit Learmonth would rather die than grow up and leave Neverland…
When she was twelve, Kit Learmonth watched her parents drown in a storm as their boat sailed over the Tranter Sink Hole. Now seventeen, Kit doesn’t remember the incident, and she doesn’t want to. In fact, her only clear memories from before her parents’ death are of the fantastical stories of pirates and mermaids that she and her dad invented about the small island where she grew up, a place she calls Neverland.
Following Kit’s parents’ deaths, her uncle and guardian, Doc, transformed the island into a boarding school for mentally ill teenagers and sent Kit away to school on the mainland. But when Kit tries and fails to end her life, Doc brings her home to the island and places her in the care of his colleague, Dr Hannah Ward.
Resisting her treatment, Kit instead pulls her friends deeper into her world of make-believe. It’s only when Kit and her new boyfriend, Rohan, take the fantasy too far and land themselves in very real danger that her faith in Neverland is shaken, and Kit must find a way back to reality.
February was the month of audiobooks, of sci-fi and gay love. I devoured so many books, I’m surprised at myself. I have a new found love for audiobooks, especially ones with a full cast because oh damn, they are amazing.
Anyway, here’s what I fecking read and listen to in February.
I’m off to a good start by using the word ‘heck’ in my title.
This is my 2018 January wrap up, aka what the heck did I read because I barely remember what I ate for breakfast. I think it was Crunchy Nut. I could be wrong.
January started off amazing with long days reading in bed with a cup of tea and some mood music. The middle picked up with more work, more experimentation with Booktube and Twitter. And the end, well… I’d rather not talk about it.
I read 10 books in January, and lemme quickly chat to you about them.
Thank you so much to Elizabeth for sending me a copy of her novel. However, in no way does it impact my review.
Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Synopsis: When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?
But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.
After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
I haven’t read a lot of middle grade for a long time. In fact, I haven’t read middle grade since I was in middle grade (or early high school). Picking up Esme’s Wish was a lovely break and I found myself immersed in the magic that Elizabeth Foster has weaved together so wonderfully.
Esme’s Wish is a coming-of-age tale that starts off as a contemporary and wonderfully transitions into an incredible fantasy as Esme searches for her long lost mother in a mystical realm. Filled with mystery, magic and dragons, the world of Esperance is so lush and vividly described, I felt like I’d been transported there myself.
Foster does an amazing job with her characters. She brings to life Esme’s tension with her family, her grief and self-discovery as she journeys along with her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, across various places. She’s also brilliant at crafting real friendships and dialogue – the interactions between the three were very much entertaining – showcasing the ups and downs of being a teenager despite what world you’re from.
Esme’s Wish is the book I wish I had as a teen. Not only is it enchanting, it harnesses the essence of magic, love and friendship. As an excellent high Middle Grade novel, it’ll spark joy in your heart.
I have one question: how the heck did 2017 wrap up so quickly? It doesn’t feel like 12 months have passed at all. However, 2017 brought into my possession a great deal of amazing books. Yet I’ll only be picking seven, so here they are.
Wrapped in murder, mystery and intrigue, Stalking Jack the Ripper kept me fascinated on every page. I adored the relationship between Audrey Rose and Thomas, and the authenticity of Jack the Ripper within the story. An overall amazing YA historical fiction.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I have a confession: I watched the show before I read the book. Before you hate on me, I found the book to be just as raw and heartbreaking as the show. Despite the subtle changes to some characters, the grittiness and pain in Offed’s words will resonate with me for a long time.
A book about an Asian-American girl and the Monkey King from an Asian author – how could I not read it? Not only is the writing amazing, the characters are hilarious and down-to-earth, and I loved how Yee integrated the story of the Monkey King into a modern setting. A definite favourite!
I have so many feelings about this book, it’s not even funny. It’s so squishy and adorable. The writing is brilliant, the characters are extra cute and the message within the story are lovely. I’m getting all mushy thinking about it.
A fantastic debut by an Aussie author. This fantasy tale swept me off my feet and gave me so many feelings. I loved how well Scheuerer executed multiple perspectives and delivered a refreshing twist on YA fantasy. This is a must-read if you haven’t picked it up already.
The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell
Breathtaking, beautiful and macabre. Campbell has a way with words and weaving together intricate tales of love, loss and pain. Out of the 12 short stories, my favourite was Little Deaths. It was so strange that I fell in love so quickly.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
I’m just as surprised as you to see this book on my favourites list. I really wasn’t expecting to like it, let alone love it, but I did. The way Green wrote about Aza’s anxiety through metaphors was beautiful. While the plot itself is rather thin, its the characters that bring this book to life.