By Atifa Jiwa
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Publisher: David Fickling Books
This debut YA novel is a powerful story of a transgender teenager’s struggle with identity. Our protagonist, David Piper has a secret. His parents think he’s gay, the kids at school think he’s a freak and his best friends? Well they know the truth. That David wants to be a girl. LGBT themes are suspiciously hard to track down in young-adult literature but are slowly becoming more common with the likes of Lisa Williamson and James Dawson. This is a coming-of-age novel about unlikely friendships and learning that it’s okay to be yourself.
Half Wild by Sally Green
The much anticipated second instalment in the Half Bad Trilogy; this is fantasy with a sharp modern twist. Told with an original narrative voice, and an original perspective on the age-old theme of witches, seventeen-year-old Nathan is the illegitimate son of the world’s most powerful and violent witch. He is being hunted on all sides, constantly on the run but nowhere safe to run to. I’m aware that this sounds cheesy and fairly predictable but Half Wild will surprise you in every way possible.
Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff
Sam, a teenage boy tries to understand his best friend’s suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind for him. In this honest and heart-breaking debut novel similar to The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Spectacular Now, Falkoff explores friendship, loss, anger and hope in a tale described as part mystery, love story and coming of age novel.