Picking your brains

Hello dear neglected readers…

In a little under a month, I am presenting my picks for this year’s CBCA Older Readers’ shortlist at the NSW Branch’s annual “Triple A: Anticipate! Appreciate! Applaud!” event (what we used to call the Clayton’s Shortlist back when I was on the committee). I am starting to narrow down on my list, but it’s HARD! And I hope they don’t want me to pick my Book of the Year tip, because I honestly haven’t yet got that short a shortlist! I think some of my absolutely favourite books from last year I would put in the children’s category (aka younger readers) but many books I think of as classic children’s books have been entered into the Older Readers category, where I’m afraid some of them might slip through the gap…

I’ve also noted that my list is so far very heavily weighted towards books by women (Happy International Women’s Day!) and I am as anxious to address my own biases as I hope those who claim there are none against women in literary awards are to examine theirs.

So, I want to know what you think. What for you were the outstanding YA books from 2011, and why. I’m not asking you to do my homework, I’m just anxious not to overlook something awesome. Have at it in the comments—I look forward to your thoughts. Thanks! And I might see some of you at the Triple A event and we can compare notes!

6 thoughts on “Picking your brains

  1. When we were two by Robert Newton – simply loved this. WWI, homefront, brothers, a journey across country, hard times and men joining up. The relationship between these two brothers was realistic and engaging. It was a tear jerker in the best way. The ending was open yet satisfying. Love Robert Newton.
    Crow Country by Kate Constable – loved this to a degree but with some vague reservations. May need to reread. Really nice language & imagery. Story didn’t gel as a whole – but as I say worth another look.
    Shift by Em Bailey – Thought this was crazy bad at first but came around somewhat. A bit out there. Deceptively like pulp for teen girls, but not really.

    As usual wish I had read more new Aus titles.

  2. For me the real stand-out was Selby Sprung. This wonderful book chronicalling the final adventures of Australia’s favourite taking dog is the culmination of this funny, heart-warming and cleverly plotted sixteen book series (which doesn’t include associated Selby books). It is already well-loved by children, teachers and librarians but destined to be completely overlooked for the CBC shortlist—as has every one of Duncan Ball’s seventy-five books published to date—so it should be a shoe-in for a clayton. Adults familiar with Sherlock Holmes will be able to appreciate Morrie Arty and the Right-In-Back Falls on a completely different level so there’s fun for all ages. I was on the edge of my seat as I finally found out what Selby actually said when he was sprung. The all the loose ends of the over-arching plot of this series, containing 212 individual adventures (not including a play and some poetry), were finally gathered up and drawn together in one tight satisfying bow that left my heat pounding and my heart saddened. And while I haven’t read much of the competition for this august prize I’m sure it all pales into insignificance compared to this marvellous book.

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