As you know, our Inky Awards were announced earlier in the week and because we’re a celebratory kind of place, I thought ‘why not look back on all the winners of the Inky Awards?’.
So this week’s book list comes to you via all the teenagers who voted for the Inky Awards over the years.
Notes from the Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell
Gem and her friends, Lo and Mira, don’t conform. In fact they’ve made an art form of not conforming. On the cusp of finishing high school these three friends are struggling. As her two friends move further into the ‘underground’ realm of teenage drinking, sex and rock & roll, Gemfinds herself moving away from her friends on her own trajectory. This isn’t your run of the mill boy-meets-girl and girl-friendships story, Underground contains the raw grittiness of a teenage world, where emotions are giant sized and your world seems never ending.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Another left of center contemporary read for the 2007 Inky. Much like Underground, Alaska deals a fairly heavy dose of ‘teenage angst’. Guilt and death are at the center of the story, which is broken up into ‘before’ and ‘after’ sections. Both Underground and Alaska deal with unrequited love in an honest – and therefore angsty – way.
Town by James Roy
Such an exciting book to have won the Gold Inky! Town is actually a collection of short stories with the ‘Town’ as the commonality to bring it all in to one cohesive. Capturing Australian small town living to a tee, Roy explores everything there is to explore with teenagers: family, death, grief, sexuality, love, disability, friendship and place.
Before I Die by Jenny Downham
Our teenagers are ahead of the curve for this one! It has recently been made into a movie – featuring Dakota Fanning as Tessa – and seems to have gathered a lot of mass interest. Tessa has only months to live. She has stopped responding to chemo. So she creates a list of things she wants to do before she dies. Tessa is an interesting protagonist who, having been dealt a hard blow by life, has very much a ‘screw you’ mentality. She doesn’t just accept her death; she cries, laments, holds a grudge, is moody and unpredictable.
Where the Streets Had A Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah
A very unique Gold Inky win, in that it is not set in Australia. Instead we find ourselves in the Middle East on the West Bank. Abdel-Fattah presents the Israel-Palenstine conflict to teenagers in a very real, personal and approachable way. The reader doesn’t feel overwhelmed or as if they’re being ‘preached’ too. The information, culture and history are so seamless that the reader doesn’t quite realise they’re learning as the story unfolds.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Pre-movie and The Hunger Games still found itself a favourite among teenagers. Dystopian action and adventure with touches of romance.
Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Written as a long letter to her captor, Gemma recounts her imprisonment in the outback. It is not a comfortable book to read (more like an emotional sledge hammer), as Christopher deals with Stockholm Syndrome, good and evil, and the Australian Outback. Stolen should be read for it’s descriptions of the desert and heat that is so pervasive in Australia, alone. She captures the love-hate, life-death pull of the Australian environment so beautifully and with such terrified fascination, you cannot help but be sucked in.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Although a ‘paranormal romance’, Shiver captures the imagination – and hearts – of teenagers with it’s beautiful, lyrical words, the mystery surrounding the world of the wolves, and our lonely protagonist Grace, who finds herself the forgotten person in her parents lives.
Silvermay by James Moloney
Our first Australian fantasy to win! Silvermay sits within the very traditional realms of feudal fantasy. There’s a quest, villains, some action and adventure, a journey of discovery and love. Silvermay becomes caught in a world of magic and politics the day Tamlyn and Nerigold arrive in her village. Nerigold’s child is tied up in to a dark prophecy, which predicts that the child Lucien will possess great powers and control the world. As evil and good fight it out, it is up to Silvermay to stay alive and one step ahead.
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Set more than a century before The Mortal Instruments trilogy, we find ourselves once again in the world of the Shadowhunters. Our protagonist Tessa is in Victorian England looking desperately for her missing brother. Clockwork has everything you’ve come to expect from The Mortal Instruments world: magic, warlocks, romance, heartbreak, mystery, good versus evil, and a whole heap of action and adventure.