– Alice Boyle –
Published 30 August 2022
Dancing Barefoot is an utterly delightful YA novel about friendship, love, self discovery and fitting in. Authentic, richly detailed and genuinely just good fun, I loved every page of this novel and can’t wait to add it to my school library shelf.
Home Field Advantage
– Dahlia Adler –
Published 7 June 2022
Home Field Advantage is a jovial sports novel with queer romance and a powerful message about coming out and standing up for what’s right, wrapped in a bright, bubbly story.
I think I start every sport novel review with a statement about how much I l sports novels, so I’ve put this a bit further down in my review just for a change. My stance remains, though. I love sports novels. I can never find enough to satisfy my own cravings or that of my readers, so this is an automatic buy for my school library. It’s a great sports novel. Romance – check. Game suspense – check. Team drama – check. Strong, determined athletes – check, check. We have two athletes who take centre field in this story. Jack, female quarterback on the boys team, hated by her team mates and determined to prove herself. And Amber, cheerleader, firmly in the closet and totally crushing on the new quarterback.
Forging Silver Into Stars
– Brigid Kemmerer –
Forging Silver Into Stars #1
Published 7 June 2022
Forging Silver Into Stars is just the most beautiful fantasy novel, with romance, betrayal, intrigue and wildly swinging emotions. I don’t know how she does it but Brigid Kemmerer’s writing just gets better and better. I don’t know how to put my love for this novel into words, so instead I’ll just go about shoving this book into the hands of readers and demanding they read it.
Forging Silver Into Stars returns readers to the world we first fell in love with in A Curse So Dark and Lonely. While Forging Silver Into Stars introduces us to new characters, never far from the action are Grey, Lia Mara, Rhen and Harper.
Café Con Lychee
– Emery Lee –
Quill Tree Books
Published 10 May 2022
I fully expected to love Café Con Lychee. LGBT+ romance, enemies to lovers relationship, food, food and more food.
Theo and Gabi are enemies. Despite playing on the same soccer team, they know to keep their distance (except when Gabi is accidentally crashing into Theo on the soccer field). Their parents both run restaurants in town that compete for business. When a new café in town opens, Theo and Gabi unexpectedly and kind of against both their wishes, team up to fight to protect their families’ restaurants. What ensues is carefully timed, almost a disaster plan to get their classmates on board and brings Gabi and Theo together in way they just didn’t expect.
All That’s Left in the World
– Erik J. Brown –
Balzer + Bray
Published 8 March 2022
I’ve been meaning to write and share this review for a while now but I just haven’t been able to put into words just how incredible and amazing and jaw-dropping and additive this book is. It’s also slightly terrifying. And amazing.
Okay, here goes.
Dystopian, queer romance, illness that is wiping out the population. That completely undersells everything that this book is. It is heart and grief and fight and sacrifice. It is love and family and loss. It’s discovery and it’s a book I just loved. So much.
Here’s To Us
– Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera –
Quill Tree Books
Published 28 December 2021
Here’s To Us is the long awaited (okay, it’s only been a couple of years, but it feels like forever) sequel to What If It’s Us. If you have read What If It’s Us, then you will know that if you wanted a happily ever after ending it desperately needed a sequel. And finally, finally, we have been gifted with a glorious, funny, delightful sequel. And that happily ever after? Oh yeah, there’s definitely a few of them this time around. A couple weddings, a few proposals, best friends forever – this book just seeps romance, love and heartwarming moments.
The Helheim Princess
– Tiana Warner –
Published 4 January 2022
Norse mythology, a main character determined to prove herself and fantasy action in a journey to the underworld. The Helheim Princess is sure to please readers who love mythology-driven fantasy.
Sigrid might have been born in the Valkyrie ward but she’s not a Valkyrie. The Junior Valkyries in training and the General make sure she knows her true place in life. A stable hand, with a Midguard horse and no future in the Valkyrie ranks. Sigrid is determined to prove them wrong. She knows her horse is fast and that the secret training they’ve been doing makes them an asset to the army, even if it’s only from the ground. But when an army of Night Elves invade and steal a precious relic, Sigrid takes her chance to fulfil her destiny. Joining with an enemy Valkyrie, Sigrid travels to the Underworld. But more than just destiny awaits her there.
When You Get The Chance
– Emma Lord –
Published 4 January 2022
I really hope the title of this book is in reference to the song I Hope You Dance. “When you get the chance, I hope you dance…”. If so, it is the perfect theme song for this musical theatre-loving celebration of love, found-family and connection.
Emma Lord delivers once again on a delightful YA contemporary novel about growing up and finding your voice.
Millie knows who she is and where she’s going. She just needs to get her dad onboard with the plan. When Millie is accepted into musical theatre pre-college, she is devastated when her dad says she can’t go. Stumbling upon her father’s old LiveJournal from his own college days provides her with the perfect clues to finally find her mother. If she can get her mother on her side, it will make precollege a reality. With the help of her best friend, Millie finds herself in her very own Mamma Mia – three possible women, three possible mothers. As Millie gets to know each one (through a series of hilarious and touching set-ups), it becomes harder to say goodbye to the possibly of the different realities she has found. Millie must also face the hurt she has caused in her search – to her family, friends and herself.
Anything But Fine
– Tobias Madden –
Penguin Random House Australia
Published 31 August 2021
Ballet is everything for Luca. It’s his future, his time, all his effort and his friendships. So when he falls down the stairs at his ballet studio and breaks his leg, it changes everything. When the doctors say he will never dance again, Luca isn’t sure what that means for his future. Who is he without ballet. When he loses his scholarship and has to move school and he shuts out his friends, the only bright side is seeing Jordan at OT. Jordan is the school captain and rowing champion at Luca’s new school. Luca thinks there might be something between them but Jordan is apparently straight. And has a girlfriend.
Anything But Fine is authentically Australia, from the Ballarat setting, to the slang and high school culture. #LoveOzYA
One of the things I most enjoyed about this book was Luca’s friendship with Amina. Amina is nerdy, talks a lot and isn’t who Luca thought he would be spending time with. She’s also as different from his old friends as possible. Amina is Indonesian-Australian and Muslim. She is absolutely fantastic and just what Luca needs. Luca also learns to be a better friend to Amina and more deserving of her. He makes some pretty lousy mistakes in this book, both towards Amina and his old friends, as well as to his dad and other adults who have been there for him. But Luca isn’t afraid to own up to these mistakes and learn from them.
– Kara Bietz –
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published 21 September 2021
Football, friendship, romance? What’s not to love.
Julian Jackson and Elijah Vance. Once childhood best friends. Now…. Three years after Elijah and his family left town, he has returned. Julian isn’t sure what to think. Does Elijah know it was Julian who called the police and told them Elijah broke the Coach’s window and was going to steal the money? Is Elijah the same boy he remembers? And does he remember that moment before he left? Elijah knows Julian isn’t happy to see him again – he makes that pretty clear. But is there any chance of fixing what was once between them and becoming friends again or something more?
This book is so American and so Texan it’s not funny (though it is delightful). It’s a setting that just jumps from the pages and gives the perfect backdrop to this football-loving romance.