Se­nior/young adult FIC­TION

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - READING ROOM -

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.

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