Fiction set in USA and EUROPE: the life of Maria Callas
Ten Great YOUNG ADULT books
8th April 2023
‘Young Adult’ is one of the most interesting (and populous) genres on the TripFiction site. Books for those who have outgrown conventional children’s literature, yet who are not yet quite mature enough for full adult exposure. These are vital books in preparing teenagers for a life of adult reading pleasure.
We list ten of our worldwide favourite titles in this transitional category.
Cassandra by Kathryn Gossow – QUEENSLAND
Is the future set like concrete, or a piece of clay we can mould and change?
On a remote farm in Queensland, Cassie Shultz feels useless. Her perfect brother Alex has an uncanny ability to predict the weather, and the fortunes of the entire family hinge upon his forecasts. However, her own gift for prophecy remains frustratingly obscure. Attempts to help her family usually result in failure.
After meeting with her new genius neighbour Athena, Cassie thinks she has unlocked the secret of her powers. But as her visions grow more vivid, she learns that the cost of honing her gift may be her sanity.
With her family breaking apart, the future hurtles towards Cassie faster than she can comprehend it.
Ghost Bird by Lisa Fuller – AUSTRALIA
A gripping, multi award-winning, debut YA novel from First Nations Australian author Lisa Fuller, drawing on the culture and spiritual beliefs of her close-knit community.
Stacey and Laney are twins and mirror images of each other but as different as the sun and the moon. Stacey wants to go places, do things and be someone different, while Laney just wants to skip school and sneak out of the house to meet her boyfriend Troy. When Laney doesn’t come home one night, the town assumes she’s just doing her normal run-off, but Stacey’s gut tells her otherwise.
Stacey knows her twin isn’t dead – she just doesn’t know where she is; she can see her in her dreams but doesn’t know if she is real or imagined. Holding onto the words her Nan taught her is one thing, but listening to those around you is another – who will Stacey trust? As the town starts to believe that Laney is missing for good, can she find her twin in time?
Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go by Laura Rose Wagner – HAITI
Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go is the vivid story of two teenage cousins, raised as sisters, who survive the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, though they lose the woman who raised them, Manman. They must fend for themselves in the aftermath, living in a camp set up by a charity. Magdalie and Nadine are inseparable, making the best of their new circumstances with an affectionate, lively cameraderie, until Nadine, whose father lives in Miami, sends for her but not Magdalie. As she leaves, Nadine makes a promise she cannot keep: to bring Magdalie to Miami, too. The novel follows Magdalie as she gradually accepts that she will not be reunited with Nadine and re-embraces her life in Haiti and the possibilities for her there–for love, friendship and a future. Her story parallels the author’s hopes for Haiti.
Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw – NEW ORLEANS
New Orleans Fang Fest, 1995. Mina’s having a summer to die for.
17-year-old Mina, from England, arrives in New Orleans to visit her estranged sister, Libby. After growing up in the town that inspired Dracula, Mina loves nothing more than a creepy horror movie. She can’t wait to explore the city’s darkest secrets – vampire tours, seedy bars, spooky cemeteries, disturbing local myths…
And it gets even better when Mina lands a part-time job at a horror movie mansion and meets Jared, Libby’s gorgeous housemate, co-worker and fellow horror enthusiast.
But the perfect summer bliss is broken when, while exploring the mansion, Mina stumbles upon the body of a girl with puncture marks on her neck, clutching a lock of hair that suspiciously resembles Libby’s…
Someone is replicating New Orleans’ most brutal supernatural killings. Mina must discover the truth and prove her sister’s innocence before she becomes the victim of another myth.
The unmissable YA Gothic horror of 2021, perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Stranger Things.
Shadows of Olive Trees by Susanne Gervay – SYDNEY
Before the #MeToo movement, there was the 1970s and three girls – Tessa. Athena, Jenny looking for love, best friends, and what they want to be. Breaking traditional roles, there are challenges from parents, the church, school. But there’s college and new freedoms, except they can be dangerous.
A story of women’s empowerment set against the background of the emerging women’s movement, this is a story that has relevance today.
‘Reminding me of Looking for Alibrandi. Gervay gets better with every book.’ Spectrum Sydney Morning Herald.
‘As far as I know, Gervay is the first writer to reinterpret the lived experience of young women in the seventies for an audience of readers today – which in the light of recent media debates focusing the perceived differences between older and young feminists is a relevant and timely. …. The novel makes a distinctive contribution to the body of creative work.
The Calling by Philip Caveney – EDINBURGH
A boy wakes up on a train to Edinburgh.He is shocked to discover that no idea who he is or how he came to be on the train – and once off it, he finds himself immersed in the chaos of the Edinburgh Fringe. After a day of wandering the crowded streets, he falls asleep and is woken by the sound of bells tolling midnight – only to discover that is the night of The Calling – a magical yearly event when all the statues of the city come alive. He is the only human ever to witness it. He quickly makes a couple of allies – the Colonel, the bronze cavalryman of the Scots Grey’s monument, and the intrepid explorer David Livingstone. They christen the boy ‘Ed Fest’ and take him to Parliament Square to meet Charles II, the king of the statues, who isn’t particularly fond of ‘Softies’ (humans).He assigns Sherlock Holmes to investigate the boy’s case, to discover his real identity and to get back to his home and family. But as the bronze detective begins to decipher the clues, he discovers that ‘Ed’ is on the run from a sequence of terrible events; ones that could threaten his very existence.The Calling is a magical story set during Edinburgh’s most exciting event – and nearly all of its characters can be observed, standing on plinths in the heart of the city, waiting for next year’s Calling.
The Island by C L Taylor – THAILAND
Welcome to The Island.
Where your worst fears are about to come true…
It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.
But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime turns into a nightmare.
Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re becoming a reality.
Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.
Who will make it off the island alive?
Silent Saturday by Helen Grant – BRUSSELS
Seventeen-year-old Veerle is bored with life in suburban Brussels. But a chance encounter with a hidden society, whose members illegally break into unoccupied buildings around the city, soon opens up a whole new world of excitement – and danger.
When one of the society’s founding members disappears, Veerle suspects foul play. But nothing can prepare her for the horror that is about to unfold when an old foe emerges from the shadows… No one is safe, and The Hunter will strike again.
After the Rains by Emily Barroso – ZIMBABWE
After the Rains is an adventurous, dramatic coming of age novel set in post-colonial Rhodesia that parallels the coming of age of fictional Jayne Cameron with that of post-colonial Rhodesia as it morphs into the free Zimbabwe. This is an intimate novel, told in the first person, of a young, spirited girl. It is set against a vast backdrop of the upheaval and tragedy of an African war, in which a girl battles to make sense of her life during the complexities of her time. The novel has universal appeal with its themes of land, loss, longing and redemption and the ability of the human spirit to overcome great odds. After the Rains This is a powerful, gripping read that is ultimately redemptive for Jayne, written by an author whose own early life was affected by similar themes. Emily Barroso has been compared to writers such as Alexandra Fuller (Don’t Let’s Go To the Dogs Tonight).
Goong by So Hee Park – SOUTH KOREA
Monarchy ended long ago in Korea, but there are still other countries with Kings, Queens, princes and princesses. What if Korea had continued monarchism? What if all the beautiful palaces which are now only historical relics were actually filled with people? What if the glamorous royal family still maintained the palace customs? Welcome to a world where Korea still has the royal family living their lives! But for Che-Kyung, a high-school girl, this is a tragedy, since she has to marry the prince who turns out to be a total jerk.
Enjoy you Young Adult reading!
Tony for the TripFiction team
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