Being forced out of my comfort zone and into the world of young adult fiction has been better than I anticipated. Here are a few books that I've enjoyed this year.
'Memoirs of a teenage amnesiac' by Gabrielle Zevin tells the story of 16 year old Naomi who wakes up in an ambulance on her way to hospital after falling down a flight of stairs at school. As she wakes up she realises that she cannot remember anything past sixth grade - her parents are now divorced, her mother has remarried, she has a baby half-sister and she has a boyfriend, Ace, who she can't work out why she would want to go out with. (age 15 plus - involves mentions of s*x)
'Uglies' by Scott Westerfield is the first in a series of books set 300 years in the future. At age 16 everyone is turned into a 'Pretty' through cosmetic surgery. Tally Youngblood is waiting eagerly for her turn to become a Pretty but just before her birthday meets Shay. Shay is the same age but she is determined to escape the city to avoid the surgery. This friendship leads Tally into another world of people who show her the sinister side of the surgery. I don't think that Westerfield is a brilliant writer, but this is a clever premise, and it had enough action to keep the plot moving along. (age 13 plus - bit of kissing).
'Punchlines' by Oliver Phommavanh. Johnny Kamka is in Year 10, in love with his best friend Josie. But she doesn't see him like that so he's trying to get up the courage to tell her he likes her. Johnny lives in Sydney with his Laotian family. And Johnny wants to be a comedian - no longer content with entertaining his friends during school speeches, he tries his luck at a local comedy club. What I liked about this book was its simplicity. The author 'gets' the demographic he is writing for - the book is not rocket science, it is not complex, the chapters are short and you can kind of see where it is going. But it makes an achievable book for someone who isn't a great reader. (age 12 plus)