Tag Archives: Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing

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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A.J. Betts on Zac and Mia

The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note—then a friendship neither of them sees coming.

You need courage to be in hospital; different courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other, always.

Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts was the winner of the 2012 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing.  Text have published some fantastic books through their Text Prize and Zac and Mia sounds great.

Zac and Mia is released in NZ in August from Text Publishing.

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Winner of the 2012 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing

The winner of the 2012 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing was announced last night at a special ceremony in Melbourne.  Some of my favourite books have been published thanks to the wonderful people at Text Publishing, who award this prize.  This year’s winner sounds like a really interesting story and I can’t wait to read it next year.  Read on for more information about the prize from Text.

The winner of the 2012 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing is A.J. Betts, for her tender and funny young adult novel Zac and Mia.

Zac and Mia opens in an oncology ward in Perth, where 17-year-old Zac is recovering from a bone marrow transplant for leukaemia. He and Mia, the ‘newbie’ patient in the room next door, begin a friendship via Facebook, letters and messages passed through one of the nurses—but out of hospital things are a lot more complicated. Written with great humour, Zac and Mia is a realistic novel about being a young person in extraordinary circumstances.

An English teacher and university lecturer from Perth, A.J. Betts has won $10,000 and a publishing contract with Text Publishing. Betts is also the author of two young adult novels, Shutter Speed (2008) and Wavelength (2010). Wavelengh was shortlisted for the West Australian Premier’s Prize in 2011.

On hearing the news, Betts commented, ‘I’m thrilled. Writing a novel is a long, all-consuming task, often plagued with self-doubt. To come out the other side and receive such validating news is more than a writer could hope for. I’m honoured and humbled by the judges’ decision, and very excited about the future of Zac and Mia.’

Michael Heyward, Publisher at Text, remarked, ‘The Text Prize is now five years old. We’ve published some wonderful books in that time: The Billionaire’s Curse by Richard Newsome, This Is Shyness by Leanne Hall, The Bridge by Jane Higgins and Fire in the Sea by Myke Bartlett. Now we have a wonderful fifth novel to publish: Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts, a deeply moving book about the relationship that grows between two kids with cancer. We can’t wait to usher this marvellous book into the world.’

Zac and Mia by A. J. Betts will be published in August 2013.

The Text Prize is awarded annually to the best manuscript written by an Australian or New Zealander for young adults or children. Entries for the 2013 prize open in March 2013. Watch out for the 2011 Text Prize winner, Fire in the Sea by Myke Bartlett, in August 2012.

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