Friday, August 1, 2014

Six great Australian YA lit classics

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Janet Manley tagged six of the most widely read Australian classics for teens, including:
If you loved The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, try Tomorrow, When the War Began, by John Marsden

Before we all got our knickers in a knot over the complexity and kickbuttness of Katniss, Australian teens were busy imagining themselves as Ellie, the tough, pragmatic hero of this dystopian series.

Australia is invaded overnight during national celebrations, and most of the population is locked up in prison camps. Ellie and a crew of teenaged country buddies are camping out in the bush, and return home to their farms to find dogs unfed, houses deserted, and broadcasts reduced to occasional cries for help over the wireless. After sneaking into town and glimpsing their families locked up at the fairground, the gang returns to the wilderness to formulate a plan for guerrilla warfare.

The Tomorrow series is seven books long, over which time Ellie kills (and suffers the moral fallout), falls in and out of love, loses friends, and learns to lead. What the book does so well is shows a character who doesn’t always make perfect decisions, who can be prickly to her lovers and her friends, and who ultimately has to overcome the incompetency of adults (and she is far less manipulated than her Panem equivalent). The gang also consists of one of the most diverse and realistic set of friends I’ve seen in YA lit—there’s the fierce Robyn, sweet, waifish Fiona, godly Homer, easily hurt Lee, courageous Corrie, fallible Kevin, and loner Chris. Plus, it stars the beautiful Australian outback!

The first book was made into a movie in 2010, if you’d like to check out the cinematic version.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue