Senior/young adult FICTION
The Traitor & the Thief by Gareth Ward, Walker Books.
Sin, a 14-year-old pickpocket, is sprung by enigmatic Eldritch Moons and offered a chance to become a spy with the Covert Operations Group. Sin and his new friend Zonda discover a traitor within COG but, forced into an uneasy alliance with the school bully, he’s not sure who he can trust. A fast-paced whodunit, ages 11-plus.
La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust #1) by Philip Pullman, Penguin/Random House.
This is the first book in the eagerly awaited companion series to fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials. Set in the same world of parallel universes, it stars Malcolm, 11, and previous heroine Lyra as a baby. With Dust, daemons and real darkness, it’s a mustread for ages 13-plus.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green, Penguin/Random House.
John Green’s first book since mega hit The Fault in Our Stars traverses themes of mental illness, friendship, an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction and tuatara, as it follows 16-year-old Aza and her best friend Daisy on a quest to uncover a mystery and claim a $100,000 reward. Ages 14-plus.
Sparrow by Scot Gardner, Allen & Unwin.
Sparrow’s tragic story begins with his fight to survive in the Australian wilderness after escaping from a burning boat during a prison boot camp exercise. Mute since childhood, the street-child was jailed for a crime he didn’t commit. As he struggles to stay alive, his bleak background unfolds in a stunning tale of endurance – and hope. Ages 14-plus.
Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian, Penguin/ Random House.
Ava’s life has spiralled out of control since her best friend Kelly took her own life. Expelled from school, angry and grief-stricken, Ava forms an unlikely friendship with the gawky Gideon, but her self-destruct button is ready to blow. A raw, beautifully written story that sensitively tackles grief, suicide, self-harm and first sexual experience. Ages 15-plus.