Winter Of Fire
A dismal world where the sun has disappeared is the backdrop for Sherryl Jordan’s hard-hitting and powerful novel Winter Of Fire. Back in print 25 years after its initial publication, Winter Of Fire blends a strong, rebellious protagonist with the difficult themes of slavery, sexism and pollution, to create a powerhouse of a novel with ideas that still stand strong today.
Winter Of Fire is the story of 16-year-old Elsha, part of a people known as the Quelled – the slaves branded by those called Chosen, and responsible for providing their lightless world with firestones, the only source of warmth. Read more
Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse
Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse by multi-award-winning New Zealand author, Lee Murray, is a story about a 12-year-old boy called Seb who downloads a game on the school network. This decision sets off a zombie apocalypse. The apocalypse spreads through Bridgetown, causing an insatiable need to stay in sight of a screen in those infected.
With the town glued to their phones, it’s up to Seb and his two friends, Darren and Talia, to figure out a way to reverse the effects of the apocalypse and save everyone. They have a planning session, trying to find a solution which is really enjoyable and funny: “’We could go to Greenland,’ I suggested. Read more
Penguin Random House
Invisibly Breathing is Eileen Merriman’s third novel, and it offers more than your typical romance. Bullying, homophobia and being an outsider – Merriman tackles plenty of tough topics in this moving and delicate novel.
After the success of Merriman’s previous two novels, Pieces of You and Catch Me when You Fall, I had high expectations for this book, and Invisibly Breathing certainly doesn’t fail to live up to the standards of Merriman’s previous works. At its heart, Invisibly Breathing is a typical YA romance, but offers more than your average love story. Read more
Zombie deer, dimensional rifts and a race to save an island from disaster – welcome to the world of The Rift, the newest offering from YA author Rachael Craw.
The Rift takes readers on an epic journey to Black Water Island, where Rangers guard the sacred Old Herd against the Rift, a mysterious natural phenomenon that poses a significant danger to the island and its inhabitants. Cal West is an apprentice Ranger, whose mission to save the island is interrupted by the return of former friend Meg Archer; both share a dark past. Read more
Levi’s War is a poignant, meticulously researched novel by Julie Thomas. Although part of the Horowitz Chronicles, it can be read as a stand-alone book, provided the reader is prepared to keep track of a tangled web of characters spanning three generations.
The book opens in London in 2017, in a backroom of the national archives, where, alongside high ranking military officials responsible for curating a memorial exhibit, we’re introduced to Levi Horowitz – more specifically, to a recording of Levi from 1945. On screen, he introduces himself: “my real name is Levi Horowitz and this is the story of my war. Read more
In the Dark Spaces
Hardie Grant Egmont
At first, Cally Black’s debut novel In the Dark Spaces seems just like any YA sci-fi/dystopian novel; in a universe where resources are scarce, 14-year-old Tamara barely manages to survive as a stowaway on the Starweaver Layla, the spaceship where her aunt works. Tamara spends her days looking after her toddler cousin, Tamiki, and occasionally, in true sci-fi style, creeping through the vents to steal extra food. But, despite the stereotypical opening, Black’s imagination soon transports the reader on a thrilling journey through space. Beautifully written, Black’s rich description, combined with her creativity, puts In the Dark Spaces into a league of its own. Read more
A J Ponder
Phantom Feather Press
Quest is a young adult fantasy adventure written by Wellington author A J Ponder and was published in 2018 by Phantom Feather Press. Ponder is most well-known for her first published book, Wizard’s Guide to Wellington.
Quest is the first book in the Sylvalla Chronicles. It tells the story of a teenage princess, in fictional Avondale, who goes on a quest with no plan, but tunnel vision and the dream of becoming a hero. With Princess Sylvalla gone, her father, the King, offers a reward for finding her.
Unfortunately, Dothie and Arrant see this as an opportunity to earn some money and go on a hunt to find her. Read more
Allen and Unwin
Rainfall is a young adult fiction book written by Ella West, first published by Allen and Unwin in 2018. Ella West is also the author of an award-winning book, Night Vision, which is also a mystery. The novel is set in Westport, New Zealand, between the Buller and Orowaiti rivers, where everyone knows everyone else, but nobody is quite who they seem. Jack and Annie are the main characters of the novel; a crime and mystery book with a touch of romance in this small-town setting. I would recommend this book to those aged 13 to 16 who are horse lovers and love mysteries with blossoming romances. Read more
See Ya, Simon
“Simon’s my best friend, and sometime in the next year or two years, he’s going to die.” Powerful, funny, heart-warming and heart-breaking, See Ya, Simon by David Hill is a novel that everyone needs to read.
See Ya, Simon follows 14-year-old Nathan as he chronicles his last year with his best friend Simon. Simon is much like most teenage boys – charming, witty, and out to impress any girl. However, Simon also has muscular dystrophy and is expected to die within the next few years. The novel writes in raw truth the struggles of Simon’s disability, while recording the hilarious and heart-warming moments of Nathan and Simon’s last year together. Read more
Love, Charlie Mike
Kate De Goldi
Penguin Random House
1997 (republished 2018)
Love, Charlie Mike by Kate De Goldi explores the struggles of teenage girl Christy in early 1990s Christchurch.
Christy is a typical teenager. She lives at home with her mum (Cushla), dad (Bob), brother (Finn) and grandmother. She is constantly irritated by the things her family do, such as her grandmother’s dementia which causes her to forget things easily, and her father’s sudden love for tennis and practicing in the hallway outside her room. All she wants to do is have fun with her friends, but, once a family secret is let out, her passion becomes finding some answers. Read more