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historical fiction

the botany of lies

“The past was all around her. She could smell it. It did not feel dead. It felt alive, and as curious about her as she was about it.”

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (Amulet Books, 2016) won the Costa Book Award in 2015. I’ve been impatiently seeking it out since then but my library took their time acquiring it. At last they did and I could devour this fantastical tale.

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forgetting yourself

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books, 2015)

How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss (Simon & Schuster, 2016)

Forgetting Foster by Dianne Touchell (Allen & Unwin, 2016)

I recently read these three books featuring a character with Alzheimer’s disease. Unbecoming and Forgetting Foster were both for my book group. I only just finished Unbecoming, a year later!? Fellow book groupers know more about the condition because they’ve cared for family members with it. Karen told us a person can die from it, which I never knew.

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how not to disappear

How Not to Disappear

I’ve been reading so many books about memory lately – The Leaving, Unbecoming, and How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss (Simon & Schuster, 2016). An unexpected favourite from the past year – so much more than I thought it would be.

“Oh and by the way, you know how we accidently had sex a month ago? Turns out I’m pregnant.”

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untimely death

I found Darkwater by Georgia Blain (Random House, 2010) at the library after reading Special. Darkwater is a very different story, but Blain’s writing is exceptional as always. Despite my love for the book, I’m having trouble writing about it. Perhaps due to my cousin and my state of mind around murder, but here goes.

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Sister Heart

“Somewhere
behind the wind
at the back of the sea
is my country”

I finally read the wonderfully lyrical Sister Heart by Sally Morgan (Fremantle Press, 2015). More verse novel love and deserving of all the award love. But the judges are confused: shortlisted for the CBCA Book of The Year Younger Readers 2016 and longlisted for the (YA) Inky Award 2016. I’m not confused, just heart drowned

“lost
lost
lost
in my saltwater tears”

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the glittering court

“Locked in a glittering cage that so many admired, little knowing it was suffocating me.”

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead is getting slammed on Goodreads and round about. I liked it, perhaps because I listened to it on a long drive (seven hours x 2), have never read Richelle Mead before and had no expectations whatsoever. (And I haven’t read similarly themed The Selection by Kiera Cass.) I couldn’t even remember the blurb when I started, but had a vague recollection of negativity I read somewhere.

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the day the music died

“Never be sorry, never be frightened, never be careful – those were the rules of Lacey. Play by the rules, win the game: Never be alone.”

I agree with Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman (HarperCollins, 2016), the Cure is the universal cure for all that ails us. Just reliving my teenage years over here. You know you’re old when you experienced the time of historical fiction! Ok so my highschool years weren’t quite as action packed, but The Screaming Trees, Urge Overkill, Sonic Youth and Kurt were the soundtrack to my soul. And River Phoenix had my besotted heart somewhere between Sneakers and My Own Private Idaho.
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Freedom Ride

I don’t know why I’ve never read Sue Lawson. I remember her books from when I worked in libraries, and I never tried any because I thought historical fiction is boring.

“Do you really think…?” I searched for the right words. “Will it work? Blacks and whites together?”
“Can’t see why not, and I reckon it’s past time we tried.”

I was so wrong! My book group did Freedom Ride this week and Sue Lawson’s writing is a feast of delicacies. I know why it was long-listed for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers 2016.

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The Guy, the Girl, the Artist & his Ex

The Guy, the Girl, the Artist & his Ex by Gabrielle Williams (Allen & Unwin, 2015) combines the stories of four young people and the theft of Picasso’s Weeping Woman from the National Gallery of Victoria in 1986. Gabrielle Williams weaves her story around the historical facts of the theft and eventual anonymous return of the Weeping Woman. The historical facts are few because the perpetrator(s) are still unknown.

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