Aussie YA recommendations

Aussie YA

I passionately believe that Australian young adult authors are the leading authors in the world for teen fiction. Our home-grown talent is internationally praised and Aussie teens are blessed to have access to texts of such diverse and outstanding calibre.  I grew up devouring Aussie YA and as I grew out of the YA age, it was my fave Aussie authors who kept me coming back to the genre ~ so much talent in our nation.  I am insanely proud of the thriving Aussie YA scene we have and am thrilled to be able to recommend titles to engage teens (and adults) with.
This page is not a complete list and it’s (understandably) slightly biased towards my favourites ~ books I am nostalgic about (that still hold great merit) and books I have recently met and fallen in love with ❤
  • (In alphabetical order by surname)
  • Book links go the goodreads
  • Not a complete bibliography of each author, just some of my fave titles of theirs 🙂
For more Aussie YA books check out this list @ goodreads: Favourite Aussie YA Books
(All images sourced from goodreads.)

Randa Abdel-Fattah
Her writing is so funny and clever and touching and real and multi-cultural. You’ll love her 🙂

Maria Boyd
Written by a high school teacher — only her debut is available so far (can’t wait to read more of her work). Will is from a male POV and is funny and spot-on at articulating a teen guys struggles and ambitions and life in general. Lots of poignant moments and parts where you feel sorry for Will who has the ability to spectacularly stuff things up. Definitely makes me feel more compassion for the male species 😉 lovelovelove

Alyssa Brugman
The synopsis of these two books didn’t particularly draw me in – but I’m so glad I gave them a go – the writing is just beautiful (many crush-worthy sentences) and the characters are so wonderfully flawed it made me ache for them. I’m a life long fan 🙂

Rebecca Burton
The perfect blend of conflict and romance and friendship and general teen angst and coming of age (in a multiple POV read).

Laura Buzo
Her debut won me over and you must get your hands on this book if you are a fan of contemporary, bittersweet Australian novels. She is being compared to Melina Marchetta and I concur – mesmerising and funny and true

and bittersweet. I loved Holier Than Thou just as much, if not more, and she is now firmly an absolute fave author of mine ❤



Emma Cameron
Write such a delicious and genuine verse novel. I devoured it in a day and it’s one of those books that still linger.

Lucy Christopher 
Who debuted with the astonishingly haunting book Stolen – a psychologically powerful and engrossing read.

Margaret Clark 

So she’s written over 130 books… And a few of them really resonated with me as a teen. I seriously grew up reading my way through her stuff. I’ll give a shout-out to the two below b/c they are super-cute and have aweso

me-funny-relate-able teen voice. Perfect for lower YA 🙂 (and the Fat Chance series, haha, loved/love them)

Cath Crowley
I’d read some of her earlier work, but her novel Graffiti Moon justtook my breath away completely. LOVE LOVE LOVE I dare you not to fall in love with it.

Marianne de Pierres

Her Night Creatures series is dark and unique and intoxicating. Highly recommended reading for fans of dystopia/fantasy/adventure Burn Bright
Angel Arias




Kirsty Eagar

whoa-crazy-good-awesome-powerful. Raw Blue is mesmerising and stunning and made me ache. An absolute fave and must-read for all fans of realistic YA. Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literacy Awards.



Nick Earls A staple in the Aussie YA scene. He’s brilliant and funny and his older novels still resonate for todays teens.


Anna Fienberg
Her novel Borrowed Light is beautiful, whimsical and lingering. A notable with CBCA. Definitely worth your time. I loved this so hard when it came out… Truly gorgeous.

Jackie French
ADORE her (she writes MG and children’s picture books too). My favourite novel of hers is:



Phillip Gwyne“Swerve is a rare and hilarious combination of road novel, rite-of passage for a sheltered private school boy, and subtle love story between grandfather and grandson” (judges comments from VPLA 2010).



Leanne Hall

This is ShynessWhoah, crazy beautiful writing and something very very different. Impressive. (Winner of the Text Prize)





Rhiannon Hart 
Fresh, addictive and swoony surprising fantasy. I LOVED her debut and am excited for this new Aussie series. For fans of Kristin Cashore, this is more fantasy-lite and very accessible. 


Sonya Hartnett 

One of my all time favourite authors. I’ve often wondered why she is shelved as YA as her work really transcends into all ages. My teen years were shaped by her books. Her stories are shocking and compelling and dark and original. Her writing is insanely literary – the combinations of words she uses to make a sentence sometimes takes my breath away. (I’ve only listed a few of hers, but any of hers are a guaranteed good read)

Kate Hendrick 

Her debut, The Accident, is amazing.


Steven Herrick 

This man, is a genius. He writes the best verse novels you can get. The characters are real  and his poems have a perfect rhythm. His books are impossible to put down, and the stories are ones that linger. He lives in the Blue Mountains and is also available for high school visits (so very highly recommended).

Simmone Howell
Simply awesome.

Barry Jonsberg
This guy is funny and witty and fresh and he has the perfect voice for YA. Very impressed 🙂 Good times.

Melissa Keil
What a refreshing and funny and completely heartfelt story. I loved this male POV book, perfect for a smiley, rainy day read. Life in outer Space is the inaugural winner of the new Ampersand Project for Aussie YA fiction.

Margo Lanagan

Confessing that Tender Morsels was not really my thing (although it has won many awards) but I still love Lanagan wholeheartedly. Touching Earth Lightly is an older contemporary title that has lingered with me years. Highly recommended. And – read Black  Juice (short stories) if only for the first story  “Singing My Sister Down” which will have you weeping after only mere pages.

Brigid Lowry
Guitar Highway Rose is the kind of delicious brilliance that reminds me why I love to read. Just. Awesome.

 Melina Marchetta 
Only one of my favourite authors of all time. What can I say about Melina Marchetta but to read her? She is the Queen of Aussie YA.

Shirley Marr 
For something wild and unexpected and fun…

 John Marsden 
Grew up on this guy. His books spoke to my very teen soul and I can still remember the characters (okay, so I’ve done some re-reads, but that’s indulgence, not from forgetting the power of the stories). The Tomorrow Series are my fave series of all time, I swear, Ellie and Homer and the gang are friends I grew up with. I feel fiercely protective of them.  can’t wait for the movie and so hoping his books gain a wider international readership. If you have not re

ad these, you are so missing out…

Maureen McCarthy
I’ve read all her work, and the ones below have stuck with me the most. She writes stories that linger with characters who have a lot to overcome. Particularly love When you wake – and it’s plot with the IRA. Compelling and complex conflict.

David Metzenthen 
Such a strong male voice and perfect for guys and girls – I’ve always enjoyed his work but was truly blown away by his latest ‘Jarvis 24’ – winner of CBCA 2010 for Older Readers – I grinned my way through in awe. Brilliance.


James Moloney
Another author who has written a lot in the YA genre. Has some great books that will appeal to males – so you should check out his bibliography. I grew up on this guy, hey. Also has won lots of awards – deserving.

Lara Morgan
Intriguing speculative futuristic fiction ~ I really admire the beginning of a fresh new Aussie series 😀 (will also appeal to mature MG readers)




Jaclyn Moriarty 
Jaclyn Moriarty is my favourite author. She’s charming and whimsical and hilarious and true. I recommend Finding Cassie Crazy (The Year of Secret Assignments) to get you started. Although Celia is just as beautiful. After either one of those you will be addicted. You really must track her down. And then fall in love with her (her sisters, Liane Moriarty and Nicola Moriarty shine with the same brilliance in Adult fiction. I love them so much.)




Kirsten Murphy 

Her writing is just funny and real and compelling and exactly the kind of books I loved as a teen (and crush on as an adult). AndRaincheck on Timbuktu has a whole plot line about Anne of Green Gables (!!!!)

Tim Pegler
A must read for all Aussie teen guys. One of my newest favourites. Brilliant. I was quite blown away by Five Parts Dead – dual timeline on an island with a lighthouse with secrets and tragedy and a fabulous male POV.



Penni Russon 
One of my favourites and one of the best. Simple but compelling prose and unforgettable storylines. (look out for other Aussie books in the Girlfriend Fictoin series. Despite what you may think,, they are all intelligent, well-written and worthy texts).

Lisa Shanahan

Ahh, LOVE this. Write more, please 🙂 Absolutely one of my favourites (Shanahan also writes for children, and often is a winner or notable author in the CBCA awards)

My Big Birkett
  (titled: the Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I truly, Completely Lost it in the US)
Tim Sinclair
His debut novel is a verse novel about parkour. It’s amazingly written, creative and compelling and just really really good. So recommended. (Also features some amazing typography inside)

Rebecca Sparrow 
Reading Rebecca Sparrow is just a whole heap of fun. I ADORE her. She’s another Aussie stand-out and must read for me. She also has non-fictoin titles for teen girls (like: Find Your Tribe) which I think are a must have for any teen library.




Penny Tangey
So, I completely loved her debut – refreshing and innocent and funny and with it’s own quirky beat this is the perfect book for teens.

Vicki Wakefield
Her debut is shining (All I Ever Wanted) and gorgeous and features one of my fave protags. Ever ❤ Friday brown is a haunting and beautiful story set in Sydeny and out west.




Paula Weston
Seriously amazed by how much I love her Rephaim series. Smart and sexy and fun and swoony and so addictive. These angel books have the best Aussie vibe and characters you will fall in love with. A must read for any paranormal fans, and also for those who think they have burnt out of the genre.

 Margaret Wild 
We love her for her children’s books, but her YA books are just as awesome.  Astounding, gut wrenching novels in verse. I have converted the staff @ my school onto these books and all the teachers love them (who wouldn’t really?). Wild is best known for her award wining children’s picture books, but I am sending out vibes to her to write more for YA. She has a 2013 YA release that I am dying to get my hands on.


Lili Wilkinson

She is good. One to watch out for… Funny and heart-felt with everything you want in an unputdownable contemporary. She also has some fantastic souding newer YA titles that I have not yet had a chance to read. (like LOVESHY)

  • Pink (I thought I’d check out the first chapter around midnight, before turning out the light… four hours later… also, blurbed by John Green 🙂
  • Angelfish
  • A Pocketful of Eyes


Gabrielle Williams
Her debut novel is brilliant and has the makings of an Aussie YA cult classic. On my all time faves shelf. Do yourself a favour and don’t miss out on this book!



Fiona Wood
Fiona is a scriptwriter who has worked on Neighbours, Home & Away and The Secret Life of Us (among others) and my newest author crush. Her debut is funny and addictive and one of the best books I read in 2009. I wanted to go back to the beginning and read it all again as soon as I’d finished. her sophomore novel WILDLIFE is even better,


Marcus Zusak
Makes me oh-so-very proud to be an Australian.

All images sourced from goodreads.

3 thoughts on “Aussie YA recommendations

  1. This is an elegant collection of reviews. Exactly the kind of resource that I frequently wish to give to ‘Young Adult’ readers in my library. I frequently send them to GoodReads. You might consider linking to a lager collection of that sort from here as well. I just wanted to say that I enjoyed this page.

  2. Thanks! Goodreads is a great resource for that kind of stuff! I have linked to a great Aussie YA list on there (right at the top of this page). I have read so much Aussie YA over the years it was hard to keep this list (somewhat manageable 🙂 ). Really appreciate your feedback!

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