Our Favourite Fictional Romances

Ah, love is in the air, Roomies. The cards are cheesy, the chocolate is on special, and our palms are sweaty. Okay, so maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone. We don’t know about you, but we’d much rather cheer for the budding romances in a good novel, experience the ups and downs of love through the eyes of a YA protagonist. So, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’ve compiled some of our favourite YA romances!


Cristina, Mark, and Kieran from The Dark Artifices

The amount of love between these three characters makes my heart melt. I love how organically each fell for the other two, from Mark and Kieran’s time in Faerie, to Cristina and Kieran’s gradual affection. Cristina is definitely the glue between them (she’s described as the piece Mark and Kieran were missing – swoon) and her kind and caring nature makes this polyamorous relationship incredibly wholesome and honest. And the boys are good fun, too!

Jackson and Tomas from The Boy From the Mish

Speaking of wholesome relationships, how can I go past the main characters in this recent release? Set over just a week or so, Jackson and Tomas explore their new relationship – learning about themselves in the process – in such a raw and honest way that you’ll be transported straight back to your own first love. I was left feeling so warm and fluffy at the happiness the boys found.

Jaron and Imogen from The Ascendance Trilogy

While you don’t actually see a lot of physical affection between Jaron and Imogen, their love for each other is incredibly strong and it’s evident in everything they do. What I love most about this pairing is how slowly but surely their relationship formed, and how deeply they care for each other, even as just friends in the beginning. Sometimes it’s nice to see a pairing’s love beyond all the physical stuff, y’know? I also love how Imogen doesn’t put up with Jaron’s crap – she’ll call him out on it, and trust me, he needs that.

Gansey and Blue from The Raven Cycle

Is there anything more romantic than not being able to kiss your true love because, if you do, he’ll die? Well, this is the small damper over Blue and Gansey’s relationship. But for a long time, it doesn’t matter, because Blue has no plans of falling in love – at first. Despite their initial dislike for each other, Blue and Gansey get to know each other over the course of four books, seeing the real version of the other and falling head over heels. I love it so much. Shame about the kiss and die thing, though. (I also can’t go past Adam and Ronan’s relationship, and I hope we see more of them in the next installment of Call Down the Hawk!)


Nishat and Flávia from The Henna Wars

There’s nothing I love more than the rivals-to-lovers trope, so these two queer girls quickly won over my heart! When Nishat’s childhood friend comes back into her life and starts at her high school, she falls hard and fast. But then her teacher announces a business project, and suddenly the pair find themselves in competition. While the rivalry had me second-guessing whether these two girls would end up together, their eventual romance had me feeling all gooey inside. It was just adorable! I’m so excited to pick up Adiba Jaigirdar’s next book.

Nick and Charlie from Heartstopper

Alice Oseman owns my heart. Full stop. She’s my favourite author of all time, and Nick and Charlie are just the cutest. Plus, we’re getting a TV show adaptation real soon with these two cuties! Heartstopper is such an incredible coming-of-age graphic novel that you’ll fall in love with as soon as you start reading. It also tackles some tough topics, like bullying and mental illness, but that doesn’t serve as a hinderance to the adorable romance that just leaps off the page. If anything, it gives their relationship more depth and authenticity.

Gabby and Jordi from The Summer of Jordi Perez

This book is just so much fun! It follows the life of Abby, who’s interning at her favourite boutique store. But when she finds out the other intern she’s crushing on is in competition with her to win the job at the end of their placement, the two become reluctant rivals. This is all set against the backdrop of the vibrant L.A., which almost serves as an additional character in the story. It’s such a fun, heartwarming story about body positivity, burgers, and summer love. Can’t recommend it enough!

Alex and Henry from Red, White & Royal Blue

If you haven’t had the chance to read Red, White & Royal Blue yet, AKA the book everyone’s constantly raving about, you have to add it to your TBR! It’s hilarious and heartfelt, and it will make you want to stay up way past your bedtime reading about these two hopeless boys. If you’re a fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope, then you’re in luck! Alex and Henry are sure to melt your heart in this hilarious, sometimes-steamy New Adult novel.

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Who are some of your favourite fictional romances? Which YA character did you spend Valentine’s Day with? We’d love to know, tell us all about it! However you celebrate – or if you celebrate at all – we hope you had a wonderful day!


Christmas 2020

2020 has been a hard year for us all, but with Christmas just around the corner, we have something to look forward to. The weather is warming up, our book wishlists are nearly finished, and… is that gingerbread I smell?

Christmas is a time spent with family and friends, and as we bring this year to a close, we think that’s more important than ever. So we’ve planned a special celebration full of activities to share with you all this month!

We’re so excited, and hope you are, too!

Book of the Month

This month, we’re so excited to read Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares with you all! Have you watched the Netflix series yet?

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

We’ll be hosting a Zoom chat to discuss the book on the 22nd of December at 6:30 AEDT. Tickets will be released soon, so keep an eye out on our social media to grab yours!

Onto the festivities…

First up, we’ve got…

Secret Santa

Sign-ups are still ongoing for Secret Santa! Until November 29th, fill out this form+ for the opportunity to send someone what could be their new favourite read and receive a book in return! On the 1st of December you’ll be emailed the details of your giftee, including the kind of book they’d like to receive!

We’re also hosting some…

Movie Nights

Christmas movies are one of our favourite parts of the holiday, and there’s just so many to choose from! We’ve narrowed it down to five to watch with you, and we hope you enjoy them!

Christmas Party

Last but not least, join us on the evening of the 22nd for a Christmas party! We’ll be talking about our Christmas traditions, reflecting back on the year that was, and sharing our hopes and dreams for the new year. Bring your favourite Christmas drinks and snacks. Tickets will be available soon, so keep an eye on our socials. We hope to see you there!

We hope you’re as excited for the Christmas season as we are!

Don’t forget to tag us in all your social media posts! You can find us on Twitter @ TheYARoom_MELB, Instagram @ theyaroom, and Facebook @ facebook.com/theyaroom.

Merry Christmas, YA Roomies!


It’s that time of the year again – the time when horror films are aplenty, pumpkin spice lattes are back on the menu, and you feel a sudden desire to string fake cobwebs across your bookshelves. Ahh, Halloween. How we’ve missed you.

Because Halloween is one of our absolute favourite times of the year (shh, don’t tell the other holidays), we’ve decided to celebrate it in style this year with all of you! We have so many epic things lined up for the month of October. We can barely contain our excitement!

Hands up if you’re excited too!

Book of the Month

We’re so thrilled to be reading None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney with all of you during October!

None Shall Sleep

The Silence of the Lambs meets Sadie in this riveting psychological thriller about two teenagers teaming up with the FBI to track down juvenile serial killers.

In 1982, two teenagers—serial killer survivor Emma Lewis and US Marshal candidate Travis Bell—are recruited by the FBI to interview convicted juvenile killers and provide insight and advice on cold cases. From the start, Emma and Travis develop a quick friendship, gaining information from juvenile murderers that even the FBI can’t crack. But when the team is called in to give advice on an active case—a serial killer who exclusively hunts teenagers—things begin to unravel. Working against the clock, they must turn to one of the country’s most notorious incarcerated murderers for help: teenage sociopath Simon Gutmunsson. Despite Travis’s objections, Emma becomes the conduit between Simon and the FBI team. But while Simon seems to be giving them the information they need to save lives, he’s an expert manipulator playing a very long game…and he has his sights set on Emma.

Captivating, harrowing, and chilling, None Shall Sleep is an all-too-timely exploration of not only the monsters that live among us, but also the monsters that live inside us.

Onto the activities…

First up, we have…


Bingo is back, baby! And this year, it’s spookier than ever. From carving pumpkins to reading a book with a ghost in it, there’s a variety of Halloween-themed activities to check off your list!

Not only does completing five tasks in a row (horizontal, vertical or diagonal) give you major bragging rights, we’ll also be giving you the chance to win a book of your choice (up to $25AUD) in our giveaway! There’s one prize for people who complete one row and another prize for all you high-achievers who complete the entire board. You got this!

All you have to do is complete the tasks you want to complete, post about it on social media, and use the hashtag #YASpookRoom! We can’t wait to see all the spooky challenges you accept in October.

The only rule is that you have to read / watch different things for different tasks! No doubling up! We’ll be posting recommendations all throughout the month, so make sure you follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook if you’re in need of some spooky inspiration.

The giveaway is open internationally and will be drawn in the first week of November. Time to get spooky, YA Roomies!

Here are all the prompts from the above graphic, in order of horizontal rows, with prompts from left to right.

ROW ONE: share a spooky story, dress as a book character for a day, read a queer spooky story, watch a foreign language horror film, read a book with murder in it.

ROW TWO: set up Halloween decorations, join a YA Room movie night, watch a horror film with a female protag, read a book with fog on the cover, (virtually) visit someplace haunted.

ROW THREE: read a spooky #LoveOzYA book, watch a spooky horror film from your childhood, read None Shall Sleep, carve a pumpkin, share a spooky shelfie.

ROW FOUR: watch a classic horror film, read a book with a black cover, wear a costume, eat Halloween-themed food, read / watch something with a ghost in it.

ROW FIVE: read a spooky short story, spell your name with spooky book titles, share your top 5 spooky movie recs, read a spooky 2020 YA release, recreate a spooky book cover.

We’ll also be hosting a ton of…

Netflix Parties!

We’ve been loving all our Netflix Parties every Friday night since lockdown began. This October, we’ll be watching a spooky film each week and talking all about them! Some of them are brand new, others are older, but we can’t wait to watch them with you.

If you haven’t joined a Netflix Party before, it’s really easy to use! All you need to do is download the free Netflix Party extension on Chrome, restart your browser, and then click the link to the viewing session we’ll be sharing before each film. Keep an eye out on our social media 10 minutes before the start time of each film to get the link and join the stream! There’ll be a chat bar at the side of your screen so we can all converse during the film.

  • Shaun of the Dead, Friday 2 October, 8pm AEST
  • Hubie Halloween, Friday 9 October, 8pm AEDT
  • A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting, Friday 16 October, 8pm AEDT
  • Rebecca, Friday 23 October, 8pm AEDT
  • DOUBLE FEATURE! A Quiet Place @ 7.30pm, followed by Bird Box @ 9.30pm AEST, Friday 30 October

We’re also lucky to be hosting a…

YA Spooktacular!

Hear Astrid Scholte, Michael Pryor and Anna Morgan talk all about their work and share their favourite Halloween memories on Zoom on Saturday 17 October from 7 – 8pm AEDT!

We’ll be discussing the dark and creepy aspects of their work, hear a little bit about what they’re currently writing, and learn how they get in the mood for writing all of the spookiest scenes.

Tickets now available! Click here to register.

Letter to a Villain

This month we’re (un)lucky enough to be joined by four literary villains, ready and waiting to answer your burning questions! Have you ever wondered where Count Olaf does his costume shopping? Or maybe you’d like some tips from Jadis the White Witch on garden ornaments?

Send your questions for Count Olaf, Jadis, the Queen of Hearts, and Smaug to theyaroom[at]gmail[dot]com or use the below form for a chance to have your question answered! We’ll be posting one question and answer from a villain each week on our social media.

And finally, we’ll be having a…

Halloween Zoom Chat!

Join us (AND ELLIE MARNEY!) on Saturday 31 October AT 6.30pm AEDT for a spooky Zoom Chat! We’ll be doing a Q&A with Ellie all about her latest novel, None Shall Sleep, and there’ll be plenty of time for you to ask your spine-tingling questions as well.

Following the Q&A, we’ll be having more of an in-depth discussion about our Book of the Month. Make sure you pick up a copy of None Shall Sleep ASAP to join in the fun! We hope to see you there.

Tickets will be released in the middle of October, so keep an eye out on our social media!

We hope you’re as excited for Spooktober as we are!

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #YASpookRoom and tag us in all your social media posts! You can find us on Twitter @ TheYARoom_MELB, Instagram @ theyaroom, and Facebook @ facebook.com/theyaroom.

Stay spooky, YA Roomies!

YA Day 2020

YA Day is back!

We’re thrilled to announce that our third annual YA Day will be on Saturday 14 March from 10am – 4pm at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne. Presented in partnership with Writers Victoria, YA Day 2020 will feature 10 incredible #LoveOzYA authors, merch stalls, and signing opportunities.

We’ll start off the day with discussions and signings, giving you close encounters with your favourite writers. Get your book signed, get your questions answered, get to know new-to-you authors with great new books!

Then, in the afternoon, we will split into two streams.

Want to write your own YA? We’ll have two 90-minute workshops: Will Kostakis on How to Build A Story and former publisher Kate Cuthbert on How to Get Your Story Out There.

Looking to interact with other readers? We’ll have four panel discussions, featuring your favourite authors talking about topics like ‘My Favourite (Fictional) Murder’, ‘Trash or Treasure?’, and a spirited discussion about which tropes are readable – and which are not.

The Writing Stream has limited spaces, so if you are interested, we encourage you to book early.

Get your tickets here!

Read More »

The Chess Raven Chronicles

Is there anything more exciting than a fantastic new #LoveOzYA series?! I don’t think so! That’s why we were thrilled to get out hands on not just the first book in The Chess Raven Chronicles, but the second one as well! Because BOY did we devour them.

These books were so fast-paced and fun, and Chess’ voice was fresh and fierce. If you’re looking for a stunning new fantasy series that will sweep you off your feet and have you wishing you could be whisked away to a whole new world, this is the book for you.

We were also lucky enough to ask the authors a few questions about their series! Check out our little Q&A down below.

Read More »

Q&A with Michael Pryor

It’s finally here! Today is the official release day of the highly anticipated sequel to Gap Year in Ghost Town, which is Graveyard Shift in Ghost Town! We had the pleasure of hearing the first couple of chapters read aloud by Michael Pryor himself at Introverts’ Night Out, and we also did a little Q&A with him for all of you to check out as well.

Seriously, we couldn’t be more excited to see what happens next in the spooky and funny adventures of our two favourite Melbourne ghost hunters, Anton and Rani! And how cool is that cover?! LOVE. IT.

Graveyard-shift-cover-final-300x450Anton Marin and Rani Cross team up again to fight the ghosts that are plaguing the city. And now there’s a vicious ghost-hunting faction in town as well. A highly entertaining sequel to the smart, snappy and funny Gap Year in Ghost Town.

So, how’s my gap year going? Is it giving me a taste of the ghost-hunting business or is it just dumping me into situations where I could end up dead, or worse?

Lingerers. Moaners. Thugs. Weepers. So many ghosts. Not enough graveyard shifts in a night.

When an extreme ghost plague descends on the city, Anton and Rani must work overtime to keep the city safe and to find the source of the new aggressive ghost outbreak. And it amps up to another level after ghost hunters become the hunted.

Anton and Rani will need all their wits and wiles about them if they are to manage the ghost influx, get to the truth about the Elsewhere and navigate the night with all their limbs intact.

Graveyard Shift in Ghost Town is thoroughly entertaining and full of nail-biting ghostly action and adventure.Read More »


2019 has been an amazing year for book lovers. From new releases, such as Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte, to continuations of much beloved series such as Finale by Stephanie Garber!

Not only that, but we are starting to get so much more diversity in our books. Wicked Fox features Korean mythology, Kindred celebrates queers stories, and A Curse So Dark and Lonely gives representation to people with cerebral palsy.

So far, at The YA Room, we have been reading more books than ever before — with no intentions of slowing down! But before we look ahead to some of our most anticipated releases of the second half of 2019, lets recap our favourites so far this year!


Sarah’s Top Five

Red, White and Royal Blue

Red, White & Royal Blue

Casey McQuiston

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?Read More »

Shadow of the Fox: 5 Books To Cure Your Bookish Hangover

Shadow of the Fox is such a fun mix of YA fantasy, and Japanese mythology. It’s an easy read that takes you on an epic adventure filled with demons and ghosts.

But don’t you hate it when you finish an amazing book, and all you want is more! You search high and low, you storm through bookshop after bookshop, and yet you find nothing that can satisfy your craving! Grrrr.

Fear not, we have you covered.

Here are five books to cure your bookish hangover!

Oh… And the first recommendation just so happens to be our JULY BOOK OF THE MONTH! Don’t forget to grab your copy, and join in on all the fun!


Wicked Fox

By Kat Cho

The YA Room’s July Book of the Month

A fresh and addictive fantasy-romance set in modern-day Seoul.

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway.

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.Read More »

Q&A with Robert Newton, Nova Weetman & Lili Wilkinson| Williamstown Literary Festival

Only two days to go before the Williamstown Literary Festival? Are you ready? Tickets booked? Bathers packed? Okay, maybe not that last one, but here’s something even better: the Sensory Overload panel, moderated by the ever wonderful Danielle Binks featuring three #LoveOzYA authors, Robert Newton, Nova Weetman, and Lili Wilkinson. On June 15, they’ll be discussing what adventure to young readers means in a world in crises.

Robert Newton

How often do you draw on your children’s own experiences in your writing? 

I’m constantly observing and listening to everything around me and I think that’s important for a writer. I grew up in a family of boys and I work as a fire fighter so I treasure having three daughters. They are a wealth of information and give me so many little gems and bits and pieces that I use in my stories.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I’m not sure I have a writing quirk in general but sometimes different stories make me do weird things. For example, I wrote a book called ‘Runner’ which focused on a boy from a poor Irish family. While writing it, I got into the habit where I’d only drink Irish Breakfast tea. Also, in my new book, ‘Promise Me Happy’ there’s a character called Uncle Mick who loves The Bee Gees. Normally I like to write in silence but while working on ‘Promise Me Happy’ I had The Bee Gees Greatest Hits album playing in the background all the time.

Nova Weetman

What adventures did you embark on as a kid?

My adventures as a kid were mostly found in books. I spent a lot of time reading. I was particularly fascinated with Agatha Christie books and collected them for years. As a teenager, I used to try and write murder mysteries on a typewriter like she did! I even carried around a box of props that could help me. Strange things like horseshoes and ornate mirrors.

What do you find most rewarding about writing for young readers?

Because I write for younger readers I get many opportunities to meet them too. I find it really rewarding workshopping with young people, teaching writing and sharing a love of books and words.

Lili Wilkinson

What are you most looking forward to at the Williamstown Literary Festival?

My goodness, all of it! But I have to say I’m especially looking forward to watching the Sci Fi vs Fantasy debate.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to kids concerned about climate change?

Make your voice heard. The planet is yours, and if you don’t like what adults are doing to it, then speak up. It’s hard when you can’t vote, lawmakers don’t care much about what you have to say. But find ways to make them listen, and know that some of us have totally got your backs.

Check out the Williamstown Literary Festival program here, and make sure you grab your tickets!

Q&A with Rebecca Lim, Michael Pryor & Gabriel Bergmoser | Williamstown Literary Festival

It’s that time of year again! The beautiful ocean suburb of Williamstown is holding their annual Willy Lit Fest, and this year promises to be the best one yet! Most exciting of all is the #LoveOzYA panels that are running this year–we can’t wait! We had the pleasure of chatting to three amazing YA authors, Rebecca Lim, Michael Pryor, and Gabriel Bergmoser, about their upcoming panel Sci-fi versus Fantasy: A Debate. It sounds like so much fun and we can’t wait to attend on June 15th!

Rebecca Lim

What are you hoping the audience will get out of this debate?

Laughter, and a sense of curiosity about reading Sci Fi and/or Fantasy fiction that maybe they didn’t have before the debate. Both the Sci Fi and Fantasy genres have come a long way since I started reading these kinds of books as a kid in the early 1980s (the era of booby, half-naked lady book covers) and I’d like the audience to see the possibilities of writing, or reading, both kinds of books.

What do you love most about fantasy?

The sense that the extraordinary can bleed into the ordinary, and that magic – grand magic or everyday magic – is always possible.

Check out Rebecca’s page.

Michael Pryor

Who would win in a fight: Gandalf or Doctor Who? 

I like to think Gandalf and the Doctor would sit down over a cup of tea rather than fight, but if they did – due to some sort of malign spell – I suspect Gandalf would whip the Doctor. He beat a Balrog, after all.

Williamstown is known for its ghosts. Will you be going ghost hunting during your time there?

Ghost hunting is a night time thing, but I suspect if I were to head out, the Timeball Tower would be a potential treasure trove of ghosts, and the old naval dockyards get a mention in ‘Gap Year in Ghost Town’ as a ghosty hotbed of sightings.


(No, really, Williamstown is haunted! We went ghost hunting for Halloween last year, check out the vlog here!)

Gabriel Bergmoser

Did you grow up reading sci-fi or fantasy?

I read a fair bit of both, but then I read a bit of just about everything, including books that were wildly inappropriate for kids. My main engagement with fantasy growing up was probably a deep obsession with The Lord of the Rings, although admittedly the movies are more responsible for that than the books. It’s testament to how obsessed I was with Tolkien’s world that I managed to work my way through the trilogy over the course of 2002, but for an eleven year old the extensive Elvish poetry was somewhat less than compelling.

Describe the perfect YA hero/heroine?

A great YA hero/heroine should be both relatable and inspiring; somebody who has recognisable flaws and failings but whom we can ultimately look up to. To me, the benchmark will always be Ellie Linton in John Marsden’s Tomorrow series, who was a perfect mix of fragility, bravery and sometimes striking shortcomings. It’s hard to think of many characters who felt as real to me as Ellie did growing up.

Have a look at the Williamstown Literary Festival program here! Are you on the side of sci-fi or fantasy?