Reading OzYA

A few weeks ago I attended the Sydney Writers’ Festival All-day YA. Last year I attended Boundless: a festival of diverse writers in Bankstown. Needless to say, my TBR list blew out of all reasonable proportions and I’ve been playing catch up ever since.

Here is a round up of some of the OzYA I’ve been indulging in over the last few months.

The first sits in my usual fare of sci fi/ dystopia:

Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

I loved this total bad ass sci fi romp. The world is vivid and detailed. The slang is perfectly crafted, it doesn’t jolt me. The science incorporated is fascinating and gritty.

I adore the characters. Each brings their own little spark to the table. They are all multidimensional in unique and intriguing ways. I loved the historical references to Anastasia and mythology.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.


The next three works are a little outside my usual reads of sci fi, fantasy, dystopia or romance, but I really enjoyed them and very much recommend them.

The Lebs by Michael Mohammad Ahmad

I have never seen the c* word in print so many times on a single page. I found this novel enlightening and a challenging read. This novel pushed through various uncomfortable stereotypes to portray a young person trying to make sense of the world around him and his place in it.

The novel is by turns humorous and horrifying. It had me laughing one minute, and biting my tongue in the next. Highly recommended.

Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein

This local town thriller kept me hooked and guessing. I appreciated the sensitive portrayal of mental illness. The female relationships were fascinating and complex. Epstein dealt deftly with a difficult concept. A real page turner.

Heat and Light by Ellen Van Neerven

This award-winning work is a powerful and moving collection of Indigenous stories in three parts. Each story felt larger than life, blending the mythical and speculative in seamlessly with the real. The characters were vulnerable and heart rending. This is a collection to be read slowly and savoured. The language is beautiful and lyrical.


Some pics from the SWF: hobbling about cambooted in my Star Wars tights, and waiting for the Architects of New Worlds talk to begin.