Tag Archives: Australian author

Interview with Mark Smith about The Road to Winter

Mark Smith is the author of the amazing new YA book, The Road to Winter.  I absolutely loved The Road to Winter, from the first page to the last!  It’s a thrilling story of survival in the aftermath of a virus that wipes out the population. Check out my review here.

I was thrilled to have the chance to interview Mark about The Road to Winter.  Read on to find out what he couldn’t live without, what inspired him to write The Road to Winter and what books you should read next if you like his book.

9781925355123

  • What inspired you to write The Road to Winter?

The Road To Winter (TRTW) evolved from a short story I wrote in 2013, entitled Breathing In and Out. When I decided to turn it into a novel I was determined to write a page turner that would engage younger and older readers alike. It is largely an adventure story told through the eyes of a sixteen year old boy – but it touches on a number of very relevant issues, including conflict, attitudes to violence, relationships, loyalty and the treatment of asylum seekers.

  • The Road to Winter is set in the aftermath of a virus that wipes out a significant part of the population.  Would you survive if you were in Finn’s position?

I’d like to think I would! The advice when writing is to “write what you know” and Finn’s understanding of the environment – and how to survive in it – is largely my own. He hunts, fishes, grows veggies and trades food. I think the hardest test Finn faces is the isolation – which, of course, is broken when Rose arrives in town in need of his help.

  • What is one thing that you absolutely couldn’t live without?

Coffee! I actually thought of weaving that idea into the story somewhere but it didn’t make the cut. When you are creating a dystopia there are lots of these decisions you need to make – what’s still there and what’s not. In TRTW though, I deliberately didn’t take a lot of time to explain the dystopia because I wanted it to be a character driven novel, rather than one dealing just with the consequences of living in a post-apocalyptic world.

  • Finn has his dog Rowdy but who would you want by your side if you were in Finn’s situation?

Finn feels the loss of his family very deeply and I certainly would too. If I were forced to survive in a world like his, I’d want my family there with me to help!

  • What is your favourite survival story and why?

As an outdoor education teacher I’m a huge fan of adventure non-fiction. I consume books about survival in extreme circumstances – Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Joe Simpson’s Touching The Void. Simpson’s story is an incredible tales of survival. I’d also recommend the account of Ernest Shackleton’s epic journey of survival in Antarctica in 1914 and Tim Cope’s On The Trail of Genghis Khan.

  • The Road to Winter is your first book.  How was your road to publication?

By 2014 I’d had more than twenty short stories published in magazines, journals, anthologies and newspapers in Australia. I learned my craft as a short story writer but I always wanted to write a novel. It took me 18 months to get the manuscript of TRTW ready to submit to a publisher. I chose Text because they have a strong reputation for supporting new writers. They loved the manuscript and offered me a three book deal. The sequel to TRTW is due for release in May 2017. I know the road to publication is a long and difficult one for most writers and I am incredibly thankful that mine was relatively smooth – but, in the end, it’s the quality of the writing that will decide whether your work is published or not.

  • The Road to Winter is marketed as YA but it has the look of a gritty adult thriller.  Did you write it for a particular audience or just because you wanted to tell this story?

It’s a really good question! I didn’t consciously write a YA novel – I wanted to tell a particular story in a particular way – through the eyes of a sixteen year old boy. I do think that we often categorise books by their protagonist rather than by what the story is saying and whom it may appeal to. I think TRTW will crossover into the adult reading market very easily – and Text have printed it in trade paperback format to encourage that. As you say too, it has the look of a gritty adult book – again, the cover design being part of the crossover appeal.

  • What other books would you recommend for fans of The Road to Winter?

In writing TRTW I was influenced by reading a number of books – some obvious, some less so. The obvious ones are John Marsden’s Tomorrow series and The Ellie Chronicles. But I also enjoyed The Dog Stars (US) by Peter Heller, Clade by James Bradley and Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey.

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The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

As a male I really value authentic male teenage characters in YA books.  I find those ‘hot, bad boys’ very fake, whereas the nerdy, sweary guys feel like the guy I was and a lot of the guys I knew.  I’m always on the look out for books with authentic male teenage characters and books that focus on male friendship, because it’s these books that I want to get into the hands of teenage guys.  The new book by Aussie author Will Kostakis, The Sidekicks, is one of these books, and I think every teenage guy should read it.

9780143309031The 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?

I loved The Sidekicks!  I wish this book had been around when I was a teenager because it would have totally clicked with me.  Will makes you feel like you are part of the characters’ lives and that you’re one of the Sidekicks too.  Will absolutely nails what it’s like to be a teenage guy and the often awkward friendships between different guys.

The Sidekicks follows three teenage guys after the death of their friend, the one guy who was holding their group together.  They are all quite different guys who were friends with Isaac, but they don’t have anything in common with each other.  Ryan is The Swimmer, whose mum teaches at his school (which creates its own problems), and who is hiding a secret.  Harley is The Rebel, the guy who would drink with Isaac and was with him on the night that he died.  The papers imply that Isaac killed himself but Harley knows he wouldn’t do this and tries to set the story straight.  Miles is The Nerd, the intelligent one of the group who works hard, but also has a side business that he ran with Isaac selling essays.  Although Isaac is no longer around their friendship with him might be enough to help them through.

This is not just about friendship though.  It’s about three guys who are dealing with grief in different ways.  Like a lot of males they don’t really want to talk to anyone about it, especially the school guidance counsellor. Harley feels guilty because he could have stopped what happened to Isaac, and he wants to do what he can to set the story straight.  Miles holds on to Isaac through the film that he made starring Isaac.  Through his film Miles continues to have conversations with Isaac, even if it is just Isaac’s smiling face paused on the screen.

The ending of The Sidekicks is absolutely perfect and it made me want to go right back to the start and take that journey with those characters again.  I’ll be eagerly awaiting Will Kostakis’ next book and putting The Sidekicks into the hands of any teenage guys I can.

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The Special Ones by Em Bailey

Often a blurb hooks me in and the story is exactly what the blurb promises.  Very rarely though the story can be so much more than what the blurb promises.  The Special Ones by Em Bailey is one of these rare books.  It took me by surprise and was so much more than what I expected.

Special OnesHe keeps us here because we’re Special.

Esther is one of the Special Ones – four people who live under his protection in a remote farmhouse. The Special Ones are not allowed to leave, but why would they want to? Here, they are safe from toxic modern life, safe from a meaningless existence, safe in their endless work. He watches them every moment of every day, ready to punish them if they forget who they are – all while broadcasting their lives to eager followers on the outside.

Esther knows he will renew her if she stops being Special, and that renewal almost certainly means death. Yet she also knows she’s a fake. She has no ancient wisdom, no genuine advice to offer her followers. But like an actor caught up in an endless play, she must keep up the performance–if she wants to survive long enough to escape.

The Special Ones completely blew me away!  This is one incredibly exciting, twisty, nail-biting read.  It’s one of those books that, just when you think you know where the story is going, it takes a sharp turn and you have to take a moment for it to sink in.  You don’t want to put the book down because you have to know what happens next, but there are times that you just have to close it for a moment to breath.  There are so many twists that I had no idea how the book was going to end!

I don’t want to say too much about the story for fear of spoiling the story, but here goes.  It’s told from Esther’s point of view.  Esther, Harry, Felicity and Lucille are The Special Ones.  They have been ‘chosen’ by him to live in a cottage on a farm, living a simple life, but regularly communicating with their followers on the outside via the Internet.  They must live the life that he has laid out for them, and if they act in the wrong way they will be punished or even ‘renewed.’  Esther has lived like this for two years, but the life she has come to know changes dramatically when Lucille is renewed.

Em Bailey’s writing is very slick.  She keeps the tension throughout the story, building it towards the nerve-wracking finale.  Em makes you feel for the characters and the scary situation that they are in.  The story is told in the first person from Esther’s point of view so we know everything that she’s thinking and feeling.

The Special Ones is an addictive YA thriller and one of my favourite books of 2016.

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Filed under Australian YA, books, young adult, young adult fiction

Queen of the Night by Leanne Hall

To celebrate the release of Leanne Hall’s new book, Iris and the Tiger, I’m highlighting her previous YA novels, This is Shyness and Queen of the Night.  Leanne’s books are some of my all-time favourite books and I can’t rate them highly enough.  If you haven’t read these ones already go and grab a copy now.  Also, check out my review of Leanne’s latest book, Iris and the Tiger.

The Text Publishing Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing has introduced me to some of my favourite writers.  The first winner in 2008 was Richard Newsome, author of the brilliant Billionaire’s Curse Trilogy, and the second winner was Leanne Hall, author of one of my favourite books of 2010 called This is Shyness.  In This is Shyness, Leanne introduced us to the suburb of Shyness where it’s always dark because the sun never rises.  This mysterious suburb is home to all sorts of weird and wonderful people, including the Kidds who are hooked on sugar, the Dreamers, and Wolfboy.  The story is focused on one night in Shyness where Wildgirl meets Wolfboy, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since I read it.  Thankfully, Leanne wrote a sequel, which has just been released called Queen of the Night.

9781921758645For six months Nia has tried to forget Wolfboy, the mysterious boy she met in Shyness.  The boy who said he’d call but didn’t.

Then, one night, her phone rings.  The things Wolfboy says draw her back to the suburb of Shyness, where the sun doesn’t rise and dreams and reality are difficult to separate.  The Darkness is changing, and Wolfboy’s friend is in trouble.

And Nia decides to become Wildgirl once more.

Queen of the Night is just as strange, mysterious and wonderful as This is Shyness.  It’s one of those follow-up books where you find yourself right back in that place you loved as soon as you start reading.  I felt that same sense of fascination about Shyness and I wanted to know everything about this mysterious place.  Some of the questions I had from the previous book were answered, but Leanne also added to the mystery and I get the feeling we don’t quite know everything about Shyness and the weird things that happen under the cover of constant darkness.  There is still a lot we don’t know about Doctor Gregory and his strange experiments and I hope that we get to learn more about Diana. I loved being able to get inside Wolfboy and Wildgirl’s heads more in this book, and I really liked the ‘Inception’ vibe in the second part of the story.   Like Wildgirl in the story, I got quite disorientated by Shyness.  I would forget that just because it’s dark in Shyness, it could actually be mid-morning outside Shyness.   If you liked This is Shyness you’ll love Queen of the Night, and if you haven’t read Shyness you need to get your hands on a copy.  I hope that Leanne has more in mind for Wildgirl and Wolfboy because I’m certainly not ready to leave them behind.

 

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Laugh out loud with Aaron Blabey

If you need a good laugh all you need to do is read a book by Aaron Blabey.

Aaron Blabey has become one of my favourite author/illustrators this year.  Not only are his books incredibly funny, he is also really prolific.  By the end of this year Aaron would have published 6 books through Scholastic!  This year he has given us Pig the Fibber (a follow-up to Pig the Pug), Thelma the Unicorn, Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas, I Need a Hug (released this month), and two episodes of his brilliant series for younger readers, The Bad Guys.  Every one of these books is a winner in my eyes.  I love Aaron’s sense of humour, which appeals to kids and adults alike.  His picture books are perfect to read aloud and I have shared them with kids from Year 1 to Year 8 this year, with resounding success.

I hope that we have many more Aaron Blabey books to look forward to next year.  Here are my two favourites from Aaron this year.

Piranhas

Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas

This is the story of Brian (love the name!) a Piranha who should like meat but much prefers fruit and veges.  His friends aren’t happy and try to put him on the right track.  He tries to persuade them that ‘fruit is the best’ but they would rather eat feet, knees and bums.  This is a hilarious read that has kids and adults cracking up.  The idea of the story is great and it works really well.  There is so much expression in both the text and the illustrations.  Brian is just so happy being who he is but the other piranhas get really frustrated with him trying to get them to eat fruit and veges.   I also like Aaron’s extra added features in the front and back of the book that explain all about piranhas and bananas.  This is a picture book that will be read again and again.

The Bad Guys

This is my favourite series of 2015.  It’s perfect for kids from ages 7-12 and has all the things that make Aaron’s picture books so great – a unique story, laughs galore and great illustrations.  Episode 1 introduces us to the ‘Bad Guys’ of the story, Mr Wolf, Mr Shark, Mr Piranha and Mr Snake.  They’re always portrayed as the bad guys, with their shark teeth and nasty natures, but all they want to do is be good guys.  Mr Wolf gathers his friends together and they come up with a plan to become good guys.  Nothing seems to go as they planned though.  In Episode 2 the bad guys are trying to make good again so they come up with a new plan – rescue 10,000 chickens from a high-tech cage farm.  This time they’re joined by a new guy, Legs, a computer genius tarantula.  He’s a good guy with a bad reputation too so he wants to help out and do something good.

The Bad Guys books are short, chock-full of illustrations (sort of like a comic), and absolutely hilarious!  I chuckled my way through these first two episodes and I’ll eagerly await more escapades of The Bad Guys.

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Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

Ever since I’d read that Melissa Keil would be the first author to be published as part of The Ampersand Project I was curious to read it.  The goal of the project is to help debut YA authors get published.  Life in Outer Space sounded wonderful and exactly my sort of book.  I was lucky enough to get to read it back in December and I fell in love with it from the first line.  I loved it so much that I’ve read it twice, and I loved it even more the second time around.

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, worry about girls he won’t. Then Camilla Carter arrives on the scene. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his plan. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a plan of her own – and he seems to be a part of it! Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies. But perhaps he’s been watching the wrong ones.

 

I love absolutely everything about Life in Outer Space! It’s full of cool characters that you want to be friends with, great dialogue, pop culture references galore, and hilarious moments that will have you laughing out loud.  Reading Life In Outer Space made me feel like I was at a comic book convention or a book conference, because I felt totally surrounded by people who were just like me.

Melissa’s characters feel totally real and you can imagine seeing them walking down the street or waiting outside the cinema to catch a movie.  Sam’s voice is so authentic that I’m sure Melissa has a teenage boy trapped inside her.  Sam is an incredibly likeable character, from his extensive knowledge of movies and his ability to relate them to real life, to his loyalty to his friends. He’s got a great sense of humour, but he’s also quite awkward.  He says that ‘everything useful I do know about real life I know from movies,’ and I love the way that he proves this frequently throughout the book. All of the other characters stand out too, especially Sam’s friends.  Adrian is the clown of the group, Mike is Sam’s gay best friend, Allison is their tom-boy female friend, and then there is Camilla.  Camilla is the cool new girl who arrives at Sam’s school at the start of the story and quickly becomes part of his group of friends.  She has an unusual name, a British accent, a tattoo, she’s from New York, she has a great smile, and she’s objectively attractive, all of which means she scores highly in Sam’s ‘mental social scorecard.’ Not only this, but she also knows a lot about movies and she wants to be friends with Sam.  I found myself falling for Camilla and I just wanted Sam to hurry up and kiss her.

Melissa’s writing is witty, heartfelt and incredibly funny.  I clicked with Sam straight away and I loved his point of view.  I loved Melissa’s description of characters through Sam’s eyes, like this one of Sam’s dad,

“My father likes Harvey Norman, the Discovery Channel, and for some reason, lizards.  He last smiled in 2008, which is one of the few things we have in common…My dad also looks like me – i.e. sort of like a storm-trooper.  And not the cool Star Wars kind.”

The dialogue is witty and I had to put the book down a couple of times because I was laughing so hard at some of the conversations between Sam and his friends.

I loved all of the pop culture references in Life in Outer Space.  I’m a huge movie geek so I loved all of the references to Sam and Camilla’s favourite movies and their debates about the merit of different movies.  Everything from Superman and Star Wars to Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Night of the Living Dead gets a mention. Every time they would mention a movie I hadn’t seen I wanted to write it down so I could add it to my list of to-be-watched movies.

Life in Outer Space will make you think, feel, laugh and leave you wishing that Melissa’s characters were real.

5 out of 5

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Love YA sci-fi? Grab The Rosie Black Chronicles

The Rosie Black Chronicles is a fantastic young adult science fiction series, written by Australian author Lara Morgan.  The series is published by Walker Books Australia, who also publish some other exciting science fiction/futuristic books for children and teens, including Brian Falkner’s The Tomorrow Code and Brainjack, and Ambelin Kwaymullina’s The Tribe series. 

The Rosie Black Chronicles is an action-packed, fast-paced series set in the not-too-distant future.  There are corrupt organisations, secret plans, a killer virus, rebellions, space travel, a colony on Mars, a touch of romance, and a butt-kicking main character, Rosie Black.  If you like futuristic stories like The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Across the Universe, and Legend then The Rosie Black Chronicles is the perfect series for you.

Last week I received a top-secret package from Helios, the secret organisation from The Rosie Black Chronicles with a flash drive containing information about Rosie Black.  I was told to spread the information, so below you will find links to chapter samplers from each of the three books in the series, character profiles, book trailers and an interview with Lara Morgan.  Feel free to print these off and share with readers far and wide.  Next week I’ll have a special giveaway of a complete set of The Rosie Black Chronicles signed by Lara Morgan, so watch out for this.

Rosie Black Book 1: Genesis Chapter Sampler

Rosie Black Book 2: Equinox Chapter Sampler

Rosie Black Book 3: Dark Star Chapter Sampler

Rosie Black Character Profiles

Q&A with Lara Morgan

Rosie Black Mini Poster

For more about Lara Morgan and The Rosie Black Chronicles visit www.rosieblack.com

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The Crystal Code by Richard Newsome

What do you get when you mix Tintin, James Bond, and The Famous Five together?  You get Richard Newsome’s Billionaire Series.  So far in the series we’ve followed Gerald, Ruby and Sam to England, France, Greece and India, trying to stay one step ahead of the notorious Mason Green.  In their latest action-packed adventure, The Crystal Code, we join our favourite characters as they make new friends and enemies.

Gerald, Ruby and Sam are meeting up with Alisha and Gerald’s Australian school friend Ox for two weeks of snowboarding in the mountains of California. It’s a dream vacation.

But soon after they arrive—by helicopter, with Gerald’s butler Mr Fry at the controls, of course—the private chalet is attacked. Gerald and the gang escape through a secret passage, only to be pursued on snowmobiles by men with guns across frozen lakes and into the path of a cascading avalanche.

Could this be the work of Gerald’s nemesis Sir Mason Green, recently escaped from prison? Or is someone else behind the attack?Does the old dry cleaning ticket Gerald found amongst Green’s belongings hold the key?And how does an invitation to join the secretive Billionaire’s Club land Gerald in so much trouble?

The Crystal Code is Richard Newsome at his best!  It’s chock-full of everything I love about the Billionaire Series – chases, fights, close calls, awkward situations, sarcastic remarks, laugh out loud moments and memorable characters.  From the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, to Prague, and a tiny island in Sweden, Richard Newsome takes us on a wild ride where the action never lets up.  Whenever I read one of Richard’s books I feel the absolute joy that I remember feeling the first time I read Tintin’s adventures.  They make you wish that you were a billionaire with a crazed mad man threatening your life.  As the characters grow up, their relationships change, so things become a bit awkward between Gerald and Ruby (especially when another girl, Felicity, gets thrown into the mixture).  I really liked the dynamics between the characters, and by introducing new characters into the original trio, Richard has refreshed the series and made it even more exciting.

Richard has also taken the series in a different direction by introducing some new villains.  At the center of the story is a centuries old manuscript that nobody has been able to decipher, and there are two characters that are desperate to get their hands on it.  Tycho Brahe, the mysterious man with the silver nose, is a fantastically sinister character who will stop at nothing to carry out his plans.  There is a lot of mystery surrounding him and Gerald and his friends don’t believe that he can be the man he says that he is.  Then there is Ursus, the man with many names, a shadowy character whose motives are unknown.  They’re both really intriguing characters and I have a feeling we’ll meet them again.

The Crystal Code, and the rest of the Billionaire series, are a must read for anyone, young or old, who love action, adventure and mystery stories.  Grab it from your library or bookshop now and dive into the adventures of billionaire boy, Gerald, and his friends.

5 out of 5 stars

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Books to Treasure: Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon

‘This is a tale about a big city.
It’s a tale of hotdogs and music and the summertime subway breeze.
It’s a tale of singing on rooftops and toffees that stick to your teeth.
But most of all, it’s the tale of Herman and Rosie.’

This wonderful little blurb captures the essence of Gus Gordon’s magnificent new picture book, Herman and Rosie.

From the moment I set eyes on the stunning cover of Herman and Rosie, I fell in love with this book.  Every time I see it I want to read it again. You know that this is a story that Gus loved bringing to life because you can see all the love that has gone into the creation of the book.  Each page is so detailed and filled with different characters.  One of things I love to do in Gus’ books is find all the different characters on each page.  For example, on one page, there’s a bear on a scooter, a fox and a mole in suits, and a mother hippo taking her baby for a walk.   One of the things I especially love about the illustrations in Herman and Rosie is the different media that Gus has used on each page. You can see he has used pencil, crayon, water colour paints, photos of objects, coffee cup stains, bits of newspaper and advertisements, and postcards (among various other bits and pieces).  He’s used all of these different types of media in interesting and imaginative ways to achieve different effects on the page.

The story is all about the two characters of the title and Gus really brings them to life.  I think the reason I love the story so much is because both Herman and Rosie are interesting and quirky characters.  I really like the way that Gus describes them and their likes.  Herman likes ‘pot plants, playing the oboe, wild boysenberry yoghurt, the smell of hotdogs in the winter and watching films about the ocean,’ and Rosie likes ‘pancakes, listening to old jazz records, the summertime subway breeze, toffees that stuck to her teeth, singing on the fire escape…and watching films about the ocean.’  By telling us their likes, we figure out that they’ve got something in common.  It’s a story filled with hope and it and leaves you feeling incredibly happy.  It’s guaranteed to cheer anyone up and put a spring in their step.

Teachers or school librarians who are looking for great picture books for older readers should add Herman and Rosie to their collection.  Older readers will enjoy the story and they’ll love the intricate illustrations.

Herman and Rosie truly is a book to treasure and to read over and over again. It will make your toes tingle and make you feel like you have ‘eaten honey straight from the jar.’

5 out of 5 stars

 

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Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield

I can only think of a handful of books, among all the books I’ve ever read, that I’ll carry around in my head and my heart for the rest of my life.  Sometimes it’s the characters, the setting, or the feel of the book, and sometimes it’s the combination of all those things at exactly the right time.  When I first read the synopsis of Vikki Wakefield’s latest book, Friday Brown, I had a feeling that it was going to be one of those books.  As soon as I started reading it, I knew I wouldn’t be the same when I’d finished it.

I am Friday Brown.  I buried my mother. My grandfather buried a swimming pool.  A boy who can’t speak has adopted me.  A girl kissed me.  I broke and entered.  Now I’m fantasising about a guy who’s a victim of crime and I am the criminal.  I’m going nowhere and every minute I’m not moving, I’m being tailgated by a curse that may or may not be real.  They call me Friday.  It has been foretold that on a Saturday I will drown…

Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run—running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who’d like her to stay. She’s lost, alone and afraid.

Silence, a street kid, finds Friday and she joins him in a gang led by beautiful, charismatic Arden. When Silence is involved in a crime, the gang escapes to a ghost town in the outback. In Murungal Creek, the town of never leaving, Friday must face the ghosts of her past. She will learn that sometimes you have to stay to finish what you started—and often, before you can find out who you are, you have to become someone you were never meant to be.

Friday Brown is simply one of the most powerful, beautifully written stories I’ve ever read.  It’s one of those stories that you really lose yourself in and emerge several hours later, with your heart aching and a sense of loss.  You know that you’ll never forget the story, the characters, and the way they made you feel.

Vikki’s characters are always extraordinary and she introduces us to a menagerie of different characters in Friday Brown.  There is a sense of mystery about each of the characters in the book, as they all seem to have something they’re hiding or trying to forget.  I like the way that Vikki peels back the layers of her characters throughout the story and, even at the end, you still feel like you don’t know everything about them.  Although we don’t see much of Friday’s mum, her and her family curse are quite an imposing figure throughout the book.  Friday is forever running to escape the memories of her mother and the family curse that killed her.  If there is one character that I wish I could meet in real life it would be Silence.  He’s one of the most mysterious characters, but also the most loveable.  He’d had such a tough life and I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him everything would be alright.

Apart from Vikki’s characters, I think the thing I liked most about Friday Brown was the mood of the story.  From the first chapter, you get the sense that things aren’t going to end well.  You know that the family curse is hanging over Friday’s head, and this adds a darkness to the story.  You wonder if the curse will catch up to her or will she be able to break it.

Vikki Wakefield’s first book, All I Ever Wanted, was a stunning debut, but Friday Brown has really highlighted her incredible talent.  I would rate her as one of my favourite authors, especially of contemporary YA fiction, and I can’t wait to read what she writes next.  Whatever she does write, I know it will be incredible!

Friday Brown is a book that everyone should read, both teens and adults alike.  You will fall in love with Vikki’s amazing story and make some extraordinary friends along the way.

5 out of 5 stars

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