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2022 Teen Writing Bootcamp: reading list recommendations

02 March 2022

Have you ever wondered what books a published author would add to their reading list, shopping basket, or online cart? Find out below from our 2022 Teen Writing Bootcamp authors about what titles they would choose and why they think they are stand-out choices to join your much-loved YA collection.

The recommendations below focus on the authors’ genres, ranging from passionate poetry pieces to real-life science stories. Browse the list below. 

  • The gaps by Leanne Hall: is a powerful story examining the impact of a teenager’s abduction on two students from her school. Thematically strong, well-paced and beautifully written, this is a masterclass in creating characters, building tension and using multiple first-person point-of-view. 
  • The boy from the Mish by Gary Lonesborough: is a warm, funny novel set in rural Australia that provides a rich and nuanced depiction of family and friendships as it explores sexual identity and first love. This is a great study in creating flawed, real, sympathetic characters and of how to draw your reader confidently into the setting. 
  • Euphoria kids by Alison Evans: is a beautiful book filled with magic, gender transcendence and finding yourself.
  • Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough: is the Queer rom-com book we’ve all been waiting for! Ferociously funny, this book explores themes of politics, privilege, and power with teen romance at its heart.
  • The secret life of stars, astrophysics for everyone by Lisa Harvey-Smith: is a wonderful science book for young adults. Pam Melroy, former NASA astronaut and space shuttle commander, describes the book as ‘astrophysics made fun!’. Each chapter of the book connects the reader to various different and unusual stars and their amazing characteristics and attributes.
  • The first scientists, deadly inventions and innovations from Australia’s First Peoples by Corey Tutt: is a highly anticipated, illustrated science book that will nourish readers' love of science and develop their respect for Indigenous knowledge at the same time. Corey Tutt is a Kamilaroi man who founded DeadlyScience while working as a research assistant for the University of Sydney. This not-for-profit organisation aims to provide science books and telescopes to remote schools in Australia and connects young Indigenous people with mentors to encourage their participation in STEM subjects. 
  • Solo by Kwame Alexander: is a verse novel which tells the story of 17-year-old Blade Morrison, the son of a rockstar. Blade is hip, troubled, turbulent, and trying to find the truth and himself along the way. 
  • The poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo: is written entirely in poetry with blazing words and a powerful truth. Xiomara lives in Harlem. Defying her mother, she discovers slam poetry as a means to express her ferocity, her fire, and her complex ever-shifting love for her family and her neighbourhood.
  • Stars in their eyes by Jessica Walton: is a refreshing graphic novel that celebrates identity, disability and first love. 
  • How to write an autobiographical novel by Alexander Chee: is a collection of intimate essays that trace Chee’s life; not quite a how-to book, but definitely a beautiful lesson in writing the self.
  • The writing life by Annie Dillard: is a book which offers aspiring and established writers wisdom, urging them to maintain their passion and commitment to their work with advice that always cuts through. 

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The Teen Writing Bootcamps will run from March to June 2022. All Bootcamps are open to teens aged 13 to 18 years old from all around Australia. They are free to attend but require consent from a parent or guardian.

This program has been made possible with the generosity of Serp Hills Foundation and The JTM Foundation.