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Reviews

 

Adult fiction

Shelter (Catherine Jinks, Text)
The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman (Julietta Henderson, Bantam)
Factory 19 (Dennis Glover, Black Inc.)
The Fifth Season (Philip Salom, Transit Lounge)
Lucky’s (Andrew Pippos, Picador)
Infinite Splendours (Sofie Laguna, A&U)
Rural Dreams (Margaret Hickey, MidnightSun)
All Our Shimmering Skies (Trent Dalton, HarperCollins)
It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake (Claire Christian, Text)
Death Leaves the Station (Alexander Thorpe, Fremantle Press)

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Shelter (Catherine Jinks, Text)

Released January 2021

Meg has taken in three strangers—Nerine and her two small daughters—in a bid to hide them from Nerine’s abusive ex-husband. The house is secluded, safe, but Nerine can’t shake the idea that she’s been tracked, that it’s only a matter of time before her past catches up with her. Though Meg tries to convince Nerine… Read more

Most viewed adult fiction

  1. Stone Sky Gold Mountain (Mirandi Riwoe, UQP)
  2. No Neat Endings: Stories (Dominic Carew, MidnightSun)
  3. Mammoth (Chris Flynn, UQP)
  4. A Couple of Things Before the End: Stories (Sean O’Beirne, Black Inc.)
  5. Sheerwater (Leah Swann, HarperCollins)
  6. The Adversary (Ronnie Scott, Hamish Hamilton)
  7. The Rain Heron (Robbie Arnott, Text)
  8. A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing (Jessie Tu, A&U)
  9. The Hunted (Gabriel Bergmoser, HarperCollins)
  10. The Animals in That Country (Laura Jean McKay, Scribe)
 

Adult nonfiction

Fire, Flood, Plague: Australian writers respond to 2020 (ed by Sophie Cunningham, Vintage)
Black Summer (ed by Michael Rowland, ABC Books)
Boy on Fire: The young Nick Cave (Mark Mordue, Fourth Estate)
One Day I’ll Remember This: Diaries 1987–1995 (Helen Garner, Text)
Songlines: The power and promise (Margo Neale & Lynne Kelly, Thames & Hudson)
A Different Kind of Seeing (Marie Younan, Scribe)
Living With the Anthropocene (ed by Cameron Muir, Kirsten Wehner & Jenny Newell, NewSouth)
A Letter to Layla: Travels to our deep past and near future (Ramona Koval, Text)
Loss Adjustment (Linda Collins, Awa Press)
Soar: A life freed by dance (David McAllister, Thames & Hudson)

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Fire, Flood, Plague: Australian writers respond to 2020 (ed by Sophie Cunningham, Vintage)

Released December 2020

This deeply unsettling book bravely attempts to interpret, chronicle and reflect on the nightmarish events of this year. While I relished the opportunity to try to make sense of 2020, my eyes grew wide with fear as I read on. Laid bare in Fire, Flood, Plague is the terrifying, sad and urgent reality of climate… Read more

Most viewed adult nonfiction

  1. The Trials of Portnoy: How Penguin brought down Australia’s censorship system (Patrick Mullins, Scribe)
  2. Shark Arm: A shark, a tattooed arm and two unsolved murders (Phillip Roope & Kevin Meagher, A&U)
  3. A Year in the Mud and the Toast and the Tears: My (semi) rural kind of life (Georgie Brooks, Bad Apple Press)
  4. Father of the Lost Boys (Yuot A Alaak, Fremantle Press)
  5. Come (Rita Therese, A&U)
  6. Fathoms: The world in the whale (Rebecca Giggs, Scribe)
  7. Into the Suburbs: A migrant’s story (Christopher Raja, UQP)
  8. Living on Stolen Land (Ambelin Kwaymullina, Magabala)
  9. The Details: On love, death and reading (Tegan Bennett Daylight, Scribner)
  10. Fourteen (Shannon Molloy, S&S)
 

Children's picture books

Let’s Go, Little Roo (Renée Treml, Puffin)
An Amazing Australian Road Trip (Jackie Hosking, illus by Lesley Vamos, Walker Books)
Give Me Some Space! (Philip Bunting, Omnibus)
I Want to be a Superhero (Breanna Humes, illus by Ambelin Kwaymullina, Magabala)
Dog (Shaun Tan, A&U)
Anemone is Not the Enemy (Anna McGregor, Scribble)
I’m a Hero Too (Jamila Rizvi, illus by Peter Cheong, Puffin)
How to Be a Real Ballerina (Davina Bell, illus by Jenny Løvlie, Little Hare Books)
Ernie’s Journey (David Woodland, Berbay)
Scary Bird (Michel Streich, Scholastic)

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Let’s Go, Little Roo (Renée Treml, Puffin)

Released January 2021

Prolific author Renée Treml says she wrote Let's Go, Little Roo from experience with her own shy child, and Little Roo’s stubborn emotions and thought processes are certainly recognisable. (Though the book is aimed at the very young, from toddlers to early primary schoolers, plenty of adults will also relate to the struggle between apprehension… Read more

Most viewed children's picture book

  1. Respect (Aunty Fay Muir & Sue Lawson, illus by Lisa Kennedy, Magabala)
  2. Beetle and Boo (Caitlin Murray, Puffin)
  3. Jelly-Boy (Nicole Godwin, illus by Christopher Nielsen, Walker Books)
  4. Who’s Your Real Mum? (Bernadette Green, illus by Anna Zobel, Scribble)
  5. All Bodies are Good Bodies (Charlotte Barkla, Little Hare)
  6. Coming Home to Country (Bronwyn Bancroft, Little Hare)
  7. Mum’s Elephant (Maureen Jipiyiliya Nampijinpa O’Keefe, illus by Christina Booth, Magabala)
  8. Henry Turnip (Chloe Jasmine Harris, Walker Books)
  9. Found (Bruce Pascoe, illus by Charmaine Ledden-Lewis, Magabala)
  10. Morphing Murphy (Robert Favretto, illus by Tull Suwannakit, Ford Street)
 

Younger readers

The Carbon-Neutral Adventures of the Indefatigable EnviroTeens (First Dog on the Moon, A&U)
The Odds (Matt Stanton, ABC Books)
We Are Wolves (Katrina Nannestad, ABC Books)
Little Jiang (Shirley Marr, illus by Katy Jiang, Fremantle Press)
The Boy, the Wolf and the Stars (Shivaun Plozza, Puffin)
Aussie STEM Stars: Fiona Wood (Cristy Burne, Wild Dingo Press)
Bindi (Kirli Saunders, illus by Dub Leffler, Magabala)
The Tunnel of Dreams (Bernard Beckett, Text)
Tricky Nick (Nicholas J Johnson, illus by Russell Jeffery, Pan)
The Fire Star (A L Tait, Penguin)

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The Carbon-Neutral Adventures of the Indefatigable EnviroTeens (First Dog on the Moon, A&U)

Released December 2020

Political cartoonist First Dog on the Moon’s debut book for children is a delightfully absurd metatextual picture book/graphic novel hybrid starring a genius wombat inventor, a superhero social media celebrity platypus who is also an echidna, and an unspecified dog-like animal with pastry-fuelled superpowers. These three friends are the EnviroTeens, a group of crime fighters… Read more

Most viewed younger readers

  1. The Year the Maps Changed (Danielle Binks, Lothian)
  2. Emergency Rescue Angel (Cate Whittle, Scholastic)
  3. The January Stars (Kate Constable, A&U)
  4. Eloise and the Bucket of Stars (Janeen Brian, Walker Books)
  5. Evie and Pog: Take Off! (Tania McCartney, HarperCollins)
  6. Shoestring, the Boy Who Walks on Air (Julie Hunt, illus by Dale Newman)
  7. Bindi (Kirli Saunders, illus by Dub Leffler, Magabala)
  8. The Republic of Birds (Jessica Miller, Text)
  9. The Secret Library of Hummingbird House (Julianne Negri, Affirm Press)
  10. The Lost Soul Atlas (Zana Fraillon, Lothian)
 

Young adult

Future Girl (Asphyxia, A&U)
This One is Ours (Kate O’Donnell, UQP)
Indigo Owl (Charlie Archbold, Wakefield)
The History of Mischief (Rebecca Higgie, Fremantle Press)
None Shall Sleep (Ellie Marney, A&U)
The F Team (Rawah Arja, Giramondo)
The Erasure Initiative (Lili Wilkinson, A&U)
Loner (Georgina Young, Text)
Stars Like Us (Frances Chapman, Hardie Grant Egmont)
Metal Fish, Falling Snow (Cath Moore, Text)

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Future Girl (Asphyxia, A&U)

Released October 2020

The events of Future Girl play out in a future Melbourne that is eerily plausible. Food has been largely replaced by recon, an all-in-one food replacement that is marketed as safer than ‘wild food’ with the added benefits of built in fat zappers and cancer cures—and Piper’s mum is the scientist behind it all. Irene… Read more

Most viewed young adult

  1. The End of the World is Bigger Than Love (Davina Bell, Text)
  2. The Girl with the Gold Bikini (Lisa Walker, Wakefield)
  3. How to Grow a Family Tree (Eliza Henry Jones, HarperCollins)
  4. Euphoria Kids (Alison Evans, Echo)
  5. Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal (Anna Whateley, A&U)
  6. Please Don’t Hug Me (Kay Kerr, Text)
  7. A New Kind of Everything (Richard Yaxley, Scholastic)
  8. The Long Distance Playlist (Tara Eglington, HarperCollins)
  9. Deep Water (Sarah Epstein, A&U)
  10. The Dark Tide (Alicia Jasinska, Penguin)
 

Recently released titles

The Boy, the Wolf and the Stars (Shivaun Plozza, Puffin)
This One is Ours (Kate O’Donnell, UQP)
Death Leaves the Station (Alexander Thorpe, Fremantle Press)
How to Make a Bird (Meg McKinlay, illus by Matt Ottley, Walker Books)
The Tunnel of Dreams (Bernard Beckett, Text)
Wolfred (Nick Bland, Hardie Grant Egmont)
Bindi (Kirli Saunders, illus by Dub Leffler, Magabala)
Soar: A life freed by dance (David McAllister, Thames & Hudson)
It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake (Claire Christian, Text)
All Our Shimmering Skies (Trent Dalton, HarperCollins)

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The Boy, the Wolf and the Stars (Shivaun Plozza, Puffin)

Released October 2020

Young readers with an insatiable hunger for adventure will love The Boy, the Wolf and the Stars, a timeless new novel from Shivaun Plozza. A departure from her writing for the young adult market, this middle-grade novel will entice readers with its strong concept and charming design. Perfect for fans of the ‘Nevermoor’ or ‘Ottilie… Read more

Most viewed reviews of all time

  1. Barracuda (Christos Tsiolkas, A&U)
  2. The Feather (Margaret Wild, illus by Freya Blackwood, Little Hare)
  3. Deadly Kerfuffle (Tony Martin, Affirm)
  4. Room on Our Rock (Kate and Jol Temple, illus by Terri Rose Baynton, Scholastic)
  5. The Amulet of Athlone: The Chronicles of Jack McCool Book One (R E Devine, Bauer Media)
  6. Whisper (Lynette Noni, Pantera Press)
  7. Ten Doors Down: The story of an extraordinary adoption reunion (Robert Tickner, Scribe)
  8. Excuse Me! (Dave Hughes & Holly Ife, illus by Philip Bunting, Scholastic)
  9. When I Grow Up (Tim Minchin, illus by Steve Antony, Scholastic)
  10. Feathers (Phil Cummings, illus by Phil Lesnie, Scholastic)