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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Dromkeen Lit Fest

Dear Rose,

You seem to be better – hooray! But still recovering – if the yawning lump that I dragged around the Dromkeen Literary Festival on the weekend is anything to go by…

It was our second year at the festival and while a couple of presenters did repeats (which did not impress certain fussy-customers – yes, you and the Over-Achiever) it was an inspiring day.

First up, we went to a session chaired by my author friend Claire Saxby chatting with Mark Wilson and Gabrielle Wang. The most fascinating thing to come out of that was both Mark and Gabrielle talking about the critical importance of setting in their works.

For Gabrielle’s new book, coming out in April, The Beast of Hushing Wood, she travelled to America and stayed with a friend near the Berkshire Woods to immerse herself in a proper wood. In the novel, the wood is a character and creates the mood for the story. So for

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Gabrielle Wang with her visual diary

Gabrielle getting this setting – with all it’s gorgeous little animals which she drew on her travels – was essential. She showed us photos and drawings of uniquely American wood critters including a woodpecker, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, bears and a groundhog.

There was a sharp intake of collective breathe when she revealed the book had gone through 60 rewrites. I’m really looking forward to reading it. Gabrielle gave us a privileged sneak-peak into her visual diary – she draws something in there every day. Duly inspired I bought myself a visual diary at Officeworks today and plan to start doodling.

My other favourite talk was by author Glenda Millard whose swoon-worthy The Stars at Oktober Bend is one of my recent favourite reads. Glenda talked eloquently about the importance of surrender and trust in writing. She talked about being commissioned to write something for The Hush Treasure book. The book was a fundraiser for the Royal Children’s Hospital, specifically for kids undergoing cancer treatment. As a precursor to writing, Glenda and her illustrator Stephen Michael King were given a tour of the hospital and introduced to patients and parents. Glenda revealed that she had recently experienced a gruelling time with bereavement and illness. She came away from the tour feeling completely inadequate to come up with something that might give kids hope.

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Marc McBride – Deltora Quest illustrator

She told Stephen and he emailed her some quotes from Leonard Cohen songs that spoke to her. Shortly, thereafter she wrote a beautiful poem which went into the book and is soon to be published as a picture book, The Pea Pod Lullaby.  Glenda’s take home message was to write about things that matter to you!Brett

 

The other sessions we enjoyed were with cartoonist Brett Cardwell and illustrator Marc McBride (who really needs to work on his Dad jokes 😉)

 

Now, hurry up and finish The Boundless Sublime because I need to get cracking!

Yours, Mummy Bear x

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There’s something about Lili

Oh dear Rose,

I do hate it when you’re sick…hopefully this mystery virus is on its way but yes, the fact that you are well enough to read is a very good thing.

Lili Wilkinson

So it’s March and we’re up to Lili. I haven’t met Lili but I’m well aware of her rep as one of the cool OzYA authors about town. I enjoyed her mystery/romance – in fact just writing that makes me think ooh, I should write a mystery/romance – it sounds so enticing! What do you think…myance or romastery or how about rom-stry? And that was called A Pocketful of Eyes. Also enjoyed her les-lit (is that a thing? I just made that up – maybe a tad un-PC) Pink.

So I’m looking forward to The Boundless Sublime – even though it’s about a cult – I mean that’s intriguing right? But am I going to be scared? Is it okay to read it before bed or should I stick with Anne (that’s Anne of Green Gables who has been assisting me with some insomnia issues)?

Meanwhile, on other writerly issues I’m trying to get my head around Voice. Ah yes, voice – that thing that all publishers apparently dream about. Specifically voice in The Eye of the Sheep. Am doing my first uni pressie on Friday on this very topic. The difficulty is while I enjoyed The Eye of the Sheep it was kind of a grueller (domestic violence was a major issue) and re-reading for bits of ‘voice’ that I will blather on about is kind of trying…

But I know what you’re thinking – who gives a Reichenbach? Or is that flamin’ ferrets?

Feel better soon. Love you heaps, Mum xoxoxo

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flaming ferrets

Good morning Mum, it’s Thursday.

I would like to apologise to our dedicated readers for failing to post through most of February. I was hit like a tonne of feathers by both the beginning of VCE, and a persistent mystery illness from which I have not yet fully recovered.

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The great thing about this is I’ve had plenty of time to read and have now in fact finished Cloudwish despite your permission not to, because I am a committed stalwart member of the LMLD book club.

I didn’t hate this book as much as you thought I would (I’m really selling it aren’t I – let me try again).

I agree with what you said in your post about how there wasn’t really a problem, or at least not in the traditional sense. There were no space ninja robots or anything. It was more of a slice of life (albeit an eventful and character development-ful slice of life) book than something with a super involved plot, and I hella like these types of books because you don’t get half as stressed as you do when reading Tomorrow When the War Began or Game Theory.

I would like to weigh in on the we-want-diverse-books-but-you-can’t-write-about-a-diverse-character-unless-you-have-personally-experienced-what-they-have-experienced debate, because I have many thoughts and feelings.

It’s a bunch of flaming ferrets.

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If you write fiction then you write fiction. Since when did you need to be a hungry caterpillar to write about hungry caterpillars? Since when did you have to be a teenage girl to write about being a teenage girl (*cough* John Green *cough*)? Since when did you have to be Vietnamese to write about being Vietnamese?

I don’t understand. I mean I kind of do because misrepresenting minorities can be damaging, but that’s what beta readers and research is for, right?

Anyway, I liked the book. Jess is bae. The Vance Joy reference really screams 2013, but that’s fine. 2013 was a pretty great year.

OMG CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT BOOKS SET IN MELBOURNE FOR A HOT MINUTE. Cedar B. Hartley was the first book series I read where I was like WOAH I KNOW MERRI CREEK which was a bit exciting. Most recently I’ve been reading Lili Wilkinson and this has happened (more on you later, Lili). And then this book – the Nova. Brunetti’s. Readings. Dude, it’s awesome. (Did I spell Brunetti’s right?)

It’s cool to have character’s roaming around your home turf.

Anyway, this post is like Ikea furniture in that it comes in two parts. Part one: Cloudwish. Part two: The Boundless Sublime.

I have the privilege and pleasure of following Lili Wilkinson on Twitter. I get to read such gems such as;

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and;

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and finally;

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bsSo we’re reading the Boundless Sublime, which from what little information I’ve gleaned, is slightly disturbing and about cults. So this should be a fun month.

I ship Ruby and Fox. Rox. It’s meant to be. (This could be one of those things you regret saying after you’ve read the book – I guess we’ll find out.)

I should probably finish Pink lol. And that Mary Oliver poetry. And that book about the gut that I’ve been halfway through for two years.

And my English homework.

Okay, I’ll see you later.

DFTBA,

❤ Rose

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