A Waltz forMatildaby Jackie French (Harper Collins)
In 1894, twelve-year-old Matilda flees the city slums to find her unknown father and his farm. But drought grips the land, and the shearers are on strike. Her father has turned swaggie and he's wanted by the troopers. In front of his terrified daughter, he makes a stand against them, defiant to the last. 'You'll never catch me alive, said he...' Set against a backdrop of bushfire, flood, war and jubilation, this is the story of one girl's journey towards independence.
Loyal Creaturesby Morris Gleitzman(Penguin Books)
Like many of his mates from the bush, Frank Ballantyne is keen to join the grand adventure and do his bit. Specially as a chest full of medals might impress the currently unimpressed parents of his childhood sweetheart. So Frank ups his age and volunteers with his horse Daisy ... and his dad.
In the deserts of Egypt and Palestine he experiences all the adventure he ever wanted, and a few things he wasn't expecting. Heartbreak, love and the chance to make the most important choice of his life. From Gallipoli to the famous charge at Beersheba, through to the end of the war and its unforgettable aftermath, Frank's story grows out of some key moments in Australia's history.
Nona & Meby Claire Atkins (Black Inc Books)
Rosie and Nona are sisters. Yapas.
They are also best friends. It doesn't matter that Rosie is white and Nona is Aboriginal: their family connections tie them together for life.
Born just five days apart in a remote corner of the Northern Territory, the girls are inseperable, until Nona moves away at the age of nine. By the time she returns, they're in Year 10 and things have changed. Rosie has lost interest in the community, preferring to hang out in the nearby mining town, where she goes to school with the glamorous Selena, and Selena's gorgeous older brother Nick.
When a political announcement highlights divisions between the Aboriginal community and the mining town, Rosie is put in a difficult position: will she be forced to choose between her first love and her oldest friend?
Soon by Morris Gleitzman (Penguin Books)
The Second World War has officially ended, but the streets are still a battleground - for food, for shelter, for protection...Felix is in hiding to stay safe, but finds he has been left holding the baby - literally. An orphaned infant has been left in his care and he will do everything he can to protect the child, in the way a few incredible people did for him during the Holocaust.
This powerfully moving addition to Morris Gleitzman's bestselling series about Felix and Zelda takes place in 1945, following the story told in After.
Naveed by John Heffernan (edited by Lyn White) (Allen & Unwin)
The explosion jolts him awake. He sits up, gasping for air, heart thumping.
Was the blast real? Perhaps it had only happened in his head, a bad dream. Demons of the dark, his father had called them. 'Push them away. They'll only poison your thoughts. Seek the light and they can't hurt you.'
Naveed is sick of war - of the foreign powers and the Taliban, the warlords and the drug barons that together have torn Afghanistan apart. He's had to grow up quickly to take care of his widowed mother and little sister, making what little money he can doing odd jobs and selling at the markets. When he adopts Nasera, a street dog with extraordinary abilities, he has a chance to help rebuild his country. But will a new friend's betrayal crush his dreams of peace forever?
From the winter of war comes the spring of hope.
Don't Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer (Scholastic Australia)
There’s no easy way to put this, so I’ll say it straight out.
It’s time I faced up to the truth.
I’m fourteen years old and I have Ishmael Leseur’s Syndrome.
There is no cure.
But that won’t stop Ishmael and his intrepid band of misfits from taking on bullies, bugs, babes, the Beatles, debating and the great white whale in the toughest, the weirdest, the most humiliatingly awful – and best – year of their lives!
My Life As an Alphabet by Barrie Jonsberg (Allen & Unwin)
This isn't just about me. It's also about the other people in my life - my mother, my father, my dead sister Sky, my penpal Denille, Rich Uncle Brian, Earth-Pig Fish and Douglas Benson From Another Dimension. These are people [with the exception of Earth-Pig Fish, who is a fish] who have shaped me, made me what I am. I cannot recount my life without recounting elements of theirs. This is a big task, but I am confident I am up to it.
Introducing Candice Phee: twelve years old, hilariously honest and a little . odd. But she has a big heart, the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to ensure everyone is happy. So she sets about trying to 'fix' all the problems of all the people [and pets] in her life.
Laugh-out-loud funny and wonderfully touching, My Life as an Alphabet is a delightful novel about an unusual girl who goes to great lengths to bring love and laughter into the lives of everyone she cares about.
Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Fourteen-year-old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on the girl next door.
His life is a mess, but for now he's narrowed it down to just six impossible things...
The Last Thirteen : 1 by James Phelan (Scholastic Australia)
13 books. 13 nightmares. 1 destiny.
Are you one of them?
I can’t run anymore. The race is ending.
Sam makes a shocking discovery about the last 13 that will change everything. The shattering revelation will set the race on a dangerous course, more terrifying than even his worst nightmares.
With the world into turmoil and their enemies circling closer, the last 13 assemble in Egypt to take their place in the prophecy. Can they all make it to the end or will the power beyond the Dream Gate be lost to evil forever?
The last 13 is complete. The battle ends now.
Zafir by Prue Mason (edited by Lyn White)(Allen & Unwin)
Zafir has a comfortable life in Homs, Syria, until his father, a doctor, is arrested for helping a protester who was campaigning for revolution. While his mother heads to Damascus to try to find out where his father is being held, Zafir stays with his grandmother - until her house is bombed. With his father in prison, his mother absent, his grandmother ill and not a friend left in the city, Zafir must stay with his Uncle Ghazi. But that too becomes dangerous as the city becomes more and more besieged. Will Zafir survive long enough to be reunited with his parents?