Welcome to our year of reading Oz YA…

So as regular readers might have gleaned from last year, blogging was not quite as easy or as regular (ahem!) as we would’ve liked. So we’ve come up with a brand new idea…we’re going to have our own two-person book club 🙂

Well, it’ll start as just the two of us but we’re hoping all you YA fans out there might join us for a robust discussion (and possibly some ramblings) about one of our greatest passions – reading!

If you’d like to join us in our journey, you can check out the books we’ll be reading each month in the panel on the right.  Please leave us your comments we’d love to hear what you think.

So fasten your seat-belts everyone…first up is Rose’s pick Game Theory by Barry Jonsberg.

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An Asian Trixie Belden?

Hi Rose,

Just in from our great Easter egg hunt – where you and your sister stuffed alTBl the eggs into the daggy Easter bonnet and then – poof! – they disappeared. Sob! Anyway…

You may recall that we went to a session at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival last year where Rebecca Lim and Leanne Hall talked about diversity in YA. It was a great talk but I was fan-girling like crazy when Rebecca revealed her childhood passion for Trixie Belden.

As you know, I still own almost all of the 36 TB books and they grace our lounge room bookshelf. Rebecca did this cool thing where she rewrote the start of a Trixie novel (for those who don’t know Trixie was a gutsy teenage detective) making Trixie Asian. It was quite hilarious because in the books Trixie basically roams around having all these adventures and her parents are like – no worries, Trixie, just make sure you’ve done your chores. Rebecca’s Trixie had her Dad quizzing her on where she was going, who she was going with, when she’d be home, etc, etc – kind of your basic helicopter parent only Asian (possibly even more hands-on).

Rebecca

Rebecca Lim

Leanne_Hall-300x300

Leanne Hall

So we bought Rebecca’s book The Astrologer’s Daughter and it’s many of the things I love – mystery, a little romance, fast-paced action. As you know, I’ve broken our blogging rules and I’ve drum roll – read ahead – in fact, I’ve finished it and in a double rule breaking phenomenon (hell, I’m a rebel!) I’ve started reading Cath Crowley’s Words in Deep Blue which is our June book – oh dear, can you forgive me? I needed some literary comfort food and I was pretty sure Cath’s book would fit the bill nicely and it soooo is!

But no spoilers honey! I’ll let you know what I thought about The Astrologer’s Daughter in a bit.

Ciao,

Mum x

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possum pee, a nanowrimo strategy

Before we get into my hopes, expectations and predictions for The Astrologers Daughter, I would like to share with you an excerpt from my latest writing project, my Camp NaNoWriMo ‘novel’. (Camp NaNo is basically NaNo, but not in November.)

++++

‘DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS?!?!!?!?’

‘About four forty, why?’

‘Cameron Lewis there’d better be a dang good reason for this phone call.’

‘A possum peed on my face.’

‘What?’

‘It found my bush, and was like that looks like a nice sleeping human, better pee on their face and then he let loose and I was like HOLY POTATOES WHAT IS HAPPENING. And then I found the only public toilet in the whole of the southern hemisphere that’s unlocked at four in the morning and cleaned myself up.’

‘Cameron.’

‘Yeah?’

‘The only reason you should ever call me at four forty in the morning, is to tell me about a possum peeing on your face.’

‘Noted.’

‘Brush tail or ring tail?’

‘What?’

‘The possum.’

‘Ring tail.’

‘So what are you doing now?’

‘Standing sockless in a disgusting public toilet,’ I said, glancing at the dimly lit walls covered graffiti and other, less appealing substances that I didn’t really want to think about.

‘Did Mr Ring Tail Possum steal your socks as well?’

‘It’s a long story.’

‘Are you gonna be at school tomorrow?’

‘Tomorrow’s Saturday.’

‘Sorry, I’m not used to being woken up at ungodly hours of the morning to be told hilarious anecdotes about bladderful rodents, it’s slightly disorientating. Are you gonna be at school today?’

‘No. I have to get revenge on the possum.’

‘Well, suit yourself. I’m going back to bed,’ yawned Taha.

‘Alright. Coincidently, I’m going back to bush, so I guess I’ll see you later.’

‘Later Cameron, lord of possum urine,’ and he hung up.

I wasn’t going back to bush. I don’t think I was ever going back to bush – I was understandably slightly emotionally scarred.

And that, ladies, gentlemen, and beyond, is what happens when I get stuck on whatever I’m writing during a NaNoWriMo event (because I’m now an expert at NaNoWriMo events, have completed one, and gotten five days into another). When faced with writer’s block I do several things;

  • Think about where the story is going, and how the scene is getting it there. This can give you some direction – if it doesn’t;
  • Make something weird or unexpected happen. I highly recommend having native Australian animals perform bodily functions on one of your main characters.
  • Stick with what you like writing – if you like writing fight scenes, have your MC provoke a space alien overlord. If you like writing descriptions, have your MC get on a plane and crash land on an excessively describable deserted island. If you like writing dialogue, have your MC call their friend in the middle of the night to tell them about an unfortunate event involving a possum that occurred a few minutes previously.

(Note: as a teenager who is doing NaNoWriMo for fun, I am completely unqualified to give writing advice. Don’t take what I say with a grain of salt – take what I say the with entire salt content of the pacific ocean.)

Okay let’s talk about books.

The Astrologer’s Daughter (I know I inconsistently italicise book titles – sorry. If you think I should italicise book titles, comment PANCAKES. If you think I shouldn’t italicise book titles, comment WAFFLES.) seems like the genre of book I read a lot of in grades 3-5, and don’t read so much anymore. Like fantasy/mystery?

It also seems like the sort of book that would be set in like Victorian England, but that seems likely to be an inaccurate prediction. I’m not really sure. Maybe there’s a reason people say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and I should just start it…

Okay, I’m gonna go either read or write. DFTBA.

❤ Rose

P.S

To avoid sprained ankles when engaging in spontaneous dance parties, keep an eye out for malicious carpet. It looks suspiciously like regular carpet, so be careful.tumblr_inline_mvfuym2A5D1qd9yoe

 

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The Boundless Sublime – it’s a wrap!

So I read this book on the train (as well as in bed and on the couch) and couldn’t help but think that if anyone happened to notice me reading they’d be wondering what was wrong because I’m sure my face looked a bit like this…

face-ranga

And this…

scaredcat

And this…

scared-face2

Um, no, I’m not an orangutan, cat or baby but you get the idea.

Yep, like Game Theory, this book was not exactly relaxing. But man, I got sucked in. The thing I really loved was the slow build. Yes, we understand completely how Ruby – suffering guilt and grief over the death of her brother – falls for dreamy, mysterious Fox. And then, sure why not go to his place, meet his people. And then they’re all so nice and healthy and some of the stuff they say makes sense…it doesn’t feel too cultish.

Let me just get one bug bear off my chest. When Fox talks about ‘Daddy’, I think Ruby’s antennae should’ve gone up. Yes, I know she’s grief-stricken, falling in love, etc, etc, but seriously what teenage boy calls his Dad, Daddy? I’ll tell you – none. The Daddy thing and the fact that he doesn’t know anything about real world stuff – like money, etc – should’ve been ringing big alarm bells. But hey, then she wouldn’t have ended up in a cult and there would’ve been no story right. So, I guess I should suck that up…?

The book was beautifully written and completely compelling. And yes, that twist Rose!! OMG – you think she’s escaped and getting on with the business of recovering when her Mum – yes, her Mum!! – takes her back to the cult lair – AAGH! It was at this point that I was really hoping for a super hero to drop in on the scene. But Ruby’s reversal ie. Kick butt attitude that finally emerged was pretty cool. Let’s just clock the cult leader over the head with a what-was-it? Boltcutters! Yeah, that was cool. Violent, but cool.

So next up The Astrologer’s Daughter – I’m hoping for something a little lighter 😊

Happy Hols, Rosie. A great time to read!

Love you, Mum

PS. Love the spontaneous dance party. Although, you know, last time I had one it ended with a sprained ankle 😦

 

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