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I have actually been reading books that are not ya and books that are not written by ladies but this looks like a theme so let's run with it for now. Not really spoilers, i don't think, but some of these books are pretty recent plus some of these reviews got quite long.

Please ignore Vera Dietz, A S King: Vera's best friend, Charlie, has just died, and has maybe done something really awful at the same time. This book gets intense; some really nasty stuff happens to both Vera and Charlie. It's also a little harder to read than the other books i've got  here simply cause it's not linear. (damn this paying attention to what you're reading!) Most of it's written from Vera's point of view, but some of the chapters are also written from the point of view of "the dead kid" or "Vera's hateful dad" or even "the pagoda" (a tourist attraction in the town. yes, a building). It's a really satisfying story, even as I wish someone could have helped Charlie out more while he was still alive.
tags: detention-friends, bad shit happens to good people (also to bad people), frankly that is not a good plan, teenagers driving, teenagers drinking, buildings who whinge, selling used underwear, drugs, death, letters written from beyond the grave, high school is terrible, sexual assault

Three summers, Judith Clarke: Ruth, who is very smart, plans to go to University in Sydney, and not stay in the small town she grew up in. Her best friend is going to stay though, and get married, and have children. This story is certainly sweet, and gentle. I would hesitate before calling it passionate, as the blurb does; to me it seemed distanced; maybe I mean set apart from real life? Which, when the other books I've read this week are set in countries on the other side of the world, and include vampires, werewolves, and serial killers, is an odd thing to say, I know. But I never - oh, this sounds awful - I never really felt like Ruth was a real person who mattered. Also, the pacing is super-odd. It's called Three Summers, and one of the reviews i saw said it was the story of three girls and three summers, but no. It's got three parts: one of these parts is the summer just before Ruth plans to go to Sydney, and it's 148 pages. the second part is later on, after her best friend has children, and Ruth has moved on again, and it's partly from Fee's point of view. It's 30 pages. The third is later still, and from the point of view of an entirely new character who has joined Ruth's life. It's 60 pages long. The three sections have very little to do with each other, plotwise, and it almost feels - certainly with the second, which has nothing to do with Ruth, really - that the parts were put together to make up the space. I'd like to like it; but I don't know that I care enough about it.
tags: australia, the past, country australia, class issues people have them, girls should get married and have children, sydney is a lot like sodom and gomorrah, problematic religious people, grandmothers, sydney, people writing letters but because it’s the past not because of feelings, children, parents, marriage and getting married, leaving home, unrequited lust, sexual assualt, orphans, skeletons in the closet and also in the dam

Fateful, Claudia Gray: a young girl goes on the Titanic. Also, there are werewolves. If you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you like.
*I don't mean this in a dismissive way. I quite like this sort of thing! I just have trouble reviewing it. it does what it says on the tin, no less no more.
tags: werewolves, journeys, the past, the titanic, doomed we are all doomed, rich people are nasty, know your place your place is in third class girl, please i just want to be free and be a servant for some nice people in new york

Dead, Actually, Kaz Delaney: A dead posh bitch is haunting our regular-person heroine; in the investigation of the posh bitch's death, our regular person is helped by her best friend and her crush (who maybe returns her affections!), and she also sorts out her relationship with her parents. Apparently ghosts have different rules in NSW than anywhere else; I was pretty sure one element of the ghost's-restrictions would be a plot point but apparently I've just read too many ghost stories. I have issues with our heroine trying to come across as a regular person while also living in such a wealthy family as to be able to hire household staff (not a cleaner who comes in once a week but a couple who clean and cook fulltime!) - also I got confused as to the age of our heroine and her best friend; are they in the same year level as the dead girl? or a year younger? in which case they have a LOT to do with another year level. The parental-subplot is a bit holey too, if I'm honest - although the suddenness of some actions may have more to do with the pov character being so self-centred as not to notice what was going on. But it's not a bad book. Plus how nice is it to read some mystery-romance-ghost story-ya set in Australia for once?
tags: australia, death, blackmailing via text, good use of mobile phones, family, rich people are nasty, school, best friend=support network, i don’t think he likes me does he even know i’m alive?, mystery, ghosts, the shoe is a clue!, teenagers driving, high school is terrible

Slide, Jill Hathaway: Started this one before school and had finished it by the end of the day (and even did some work as well, but this was the day i was skiving off shelving cause I couldn’t lift my arm, so i spent the afternoon “improving my knowledge of the collection”, y’see). Vee has narcolepsy, but rather than passing out at awkward times, she passes out and falls into someone else’s head and sees what they see. She can’t control it; she just ends up sliding into the head of the last person to touch whatever she is touching. And then she falls into the head of someone standing over the recently-murdered body of her little sister’s best friend. She works out how to control it, and how to use it to solve the crime (which everyone - everyone but Vee and the murderer - thinks is a suicide). She also manages to solve some of her relationship problems with her father. Actually, there is a lot of nice believable, i think, and also sweet family-relations stuff in this book, which makes a nice change from all the alienated teenagers i’ve seen lately. She has to look after her sister, since their mother is dead, and their father very busy, but she gets on with her, most of the time, and rather than resenting anyone for it, she’s proud that her father has such an important job, and her sister (and her sister’s safety) is important to her. But she’s also a teenager, and angry and scared, and would much prefer to have her own mother around, and her father take part in their life more. Anyway, recommended.
tags: high school is the worst, the drugs don’t work, neuro-atypical but for science fictions, family, mystery, dead cheerleaders, possible suicide, people having affairs, sisters are important, zines!, he likes you can’t you tell?, murder and attempted murder, people writing letters to express feelings cause txt and email just isn’t the same

The taming of Lilah May and Lilah May's manic days, Vanessa Curtis: this pair of books is aimed a fair bit younger than the other ones I've been reading lately. Lilah May is really very angry, and can’t control it, and her life is, actually, a bit shit, so fair enough. I do like her best friend telling her off for being so emo, when really Lilah has it pretty good, and I also like Lilah’s reaction to that, nicely done. I really liked both of these; Lilah’s voice was super readable, the characters were all believable and interesting. Would actually really like to read Bindi’s story too, and Spud’s - if I had any problem with these books, it would be that I wanted more, which is a nice problem to have!
tags: family, drugs, anger, school is not the worst but it’s pretty bad let’s be fair, missing children, best friends, sex is problematic, he would like you if you were more normal, runaway teenagers, it’s all your fault, people writing letters to express feelings cause txt and email just isn’t the same, rock music is a gateway drug the next step is heroin

The rage of sheep, Michelle Cooper: This was in Justine Larbalestier's list of oz glbt ya, but is not in mine & dannipenguin's list cause we've decided that our list is only for oz ya where the pov character is queer (our list is extremely short). The rage of sheep is from the point of view of Hester, who lives in a fairly small town which has all the issues you might expect from a town in Australia in 1984. Her best friend has moved away and she has to do an assignment on the Scopes trial with a boy (whom her friends have decided to set her up with) who is a very conservative christian and is pretty sure the bible is truth, as handed down by god. Actually every one of his scenes pissed me off but mostly cause feminist biblical exegesis is the kind of thing my family did round the dinner table, and i spent a lot of time hoping that if i yelled enough a fictional character would be able to hear me and understand how wrong he was (didn't work). The author was inspired to write it after September 11, and in response to that question, how can people do such terrible things in the name of god? I don't think it answers it - or answers it well, at least. I should hope that a book with such a thought in mind would talk about how people have lots of motivations, and beliefs that may or may not match your own, and grey areas, at any rate. But it's actually surprisingly black and white. Bad things happen to good people, and teenage girls are either powerless or bitchy, and conservative christians don't have any grasp on logic. Still, having trouble dividing my irritation at the one character from my irritation at the book as a whole.
tags: australia, the past, country australia, racism, religious people are problematic, gay people but they're grownups don't stress, except you should probably stress cause AIDS you know, high school is pretty awful, teenage girls are bitches, people writing letters but because it's the past not because of feelings, i heard you like me but i have to tell you i am an arsehole, interracial couples, small towns, evolution vs creationism, it's possible to be a christian and still think logically, all high school librarians are shrill and also invested in censorship, best friends, leaving town i wish i could grow up and leave town

My conclusion: high school in books is probably not somewhere anyone wants to be, which is awkward given all these books are from my high school library.

This entry is crossposted from DW. Comment here or there.