What #LoveOzYA Means to Me | Ashleigh Meikle

Today we’d like to share this wonderful compilation of #LoveOzYA book reviews by Ashleigh, an Aussie book blogger! We absolutely love these selections, and there’s definitely a few books we’ll have to keep an eye out for.

Thank you, Ashleigh!

The YA Room Logo 2500x2500In this post, I have discussed what #LoveOzYA means to me, and included a selection of my 2017 #LoveOzYA posts – about 6 out of 36 posts relating to #LoveOzYA in general. As such, the rest of the posts are tagged and under a “#LoveOzYA” category on my blog for further exploration. I have also included a list of some favourite #LoveOzYA books at the end of the post.


Sky by Ondine Sherman


When her mother dies, Sky is sent to live with her aunt and uncle in a small town, where she finds fitting in and making new friends difficult. Yet, through her grief, she finds something to fight for – farm animal rights, where she pushes to discover the truth about a local industry that dramatically conflicts with her vegan lifestyle, and the popular girls who have sort of welcomed her into their group. This wasn’t my favourite novel of the year, and starting it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, what I did enjoy was that it endeavoured to give a different perspective on an issue that fires many people up and did so in a way that didn’t shove an agenda at the reader. It is about finding yourself and staying true to yourself. A link to the full review is below:


My Lovely Frankie by Judith Clarke


Tom has chosen to attend a seminary, where he meets Frankie, a young boy sent there by his parents as a punishment for falling in love. Frankie’s story is told through Tom’s eyes, so it is as much about Tom and his journey of self-discovery about being gay as it is about the innocent Frankie, who sees only the beauty in life and friendship. I feel it dealt with these feelings eloquently, and appropriately for the setting – a seminary in the 1960s when many people didn’t accept homosexuality, which was contrasted with the view of Tom’s family that love is love, a basic message but one that hits home, and simply yet eloquently explains to Tom that it’s okay if he loves men or women or both. But, in a world where acting on the love Tom feels can end in tragedy, there is also a tragic side to this novel that made it feel real. It was a moving novel where all can understand the emotions, and opens up a world in the not too distant past that still affects people today. Read the full review here:


The Dream Walker by Victoria Carless


Set in a small town, where a young girl, Lucy, walks through people’s dreams, this one was strange and surreal, but in a way that made sense for the novel. At the beginning of the novel, it seems clear who the bullies are and who are the bullied – but the journey of discovery shows Lucy, and the reader, the truth and what people can do about a fraught situation when they come across it.


Draekora by Lynette Noni


The third in the Medoran Chronicles, we see Alex pulled further into the fight against Aven to save Medora and her friends. She must enter a harsh battle to save Jordan from Aven, travelling back in time to await to recovery of a young dragon to help her. It is a series where what you think is going to happen might not, or might not happen how you think. As with each novel, it ends in a cliffhanger to take us into the next book, Graevale, out next year.


Frogkisser by Garth Nix


Quite possibly one of my favourite books of the year, and certainly one of the ones that kept me up and that I was torn between savouring and devouring, about a princess who saves herself and characters who invert every fairy tale stereotype and archetype. Frogkisser has a princess who saves herself, a dog companion who gets distracted, and a female Robin Hood character with her merry women who one would dare not take on in a dark alley or forest. With a whole host of characters who are not what one expects in a fairy tale, this is well worth the read.


The Matilda Saga by Jackie French


As there are six books in this series, I am putting my series wrap post here, and the longer reviews of each book can be found on my blog under the “Matilda Saga” tag and category. The first seven books in the Matilda Saga cover a span of  about seventy years, from 1894 to the early to mid seventies. Each story is about a strong young woman in each generation, from Matilda’s in the early 20th century to Jed in the mid twentieth century. Each title is inspired by a well known Australian poem, and the stories are moving, and gut-wrenching in a variety of ways, with Matilda appearing in each book. It is a series full of history and strong female characters, and the stories so often overlooked when the history books are written,


What #LoveOzYA Means to Me

#LoveOzYA means choice to me, and exploration of difficult themes that some adult books do not tackle as eloquently as some YA books I have read. The themes within #LoveOzYA books are not just for teenagers and young adults – I feel they are for everyone. I have found #LoveOzYA to be a greater source of diversity – in terms of authors, characters, plots, and identities. It means that voices of all kinds can be heard, because race, religion, gender, sexuality, disability, and so forth, should not exclude someone from having a voice heard. #LoveOzYA has meant for me, that I have been able to read diversely, because there are times adult fiction and non-fiction fall down in this area, where there are fewer different voices to be heard sometimes. It means a reading life free from judgement – where anyone, regardless of age, can enjoy these books, because ability to read and readiness to read something should by why I choose to read a book in a category or genre, not age or gender based assumptions about what a thirty-one year old single woman might read before bed or on the train. And I love it. I love Lynette Noni, and I love the discovery of Indigenous authors, of authors whose experiences are different from my own, but who have set their words and worlds to paper, and set them free, out into the world for #LoveOzYA readers to enjoy. It means community. A community where those who read #LoveOzYA can talk about books and theories with others in the community without being judged. A reading world free of judgement is what we all want, and this is what #LoveOzYA means to me.

My Favourite YA Books

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Akarnae by Lynette Noni

Raelia by Lynette Noni

Draekora by Lynette Noni

The Matilda Saga by Jackie French

There are many more that I want to read and review, so keep an eye out on my blog for them in the coming months.

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Graphics sourced from Winged Graphics, GraphicsDish, Dainty Doll ArtCarousellerie Creative, OpiaDesigns, and ArtCreationsDesign.


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