Emily Gale

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Website: http://emilygale.co.uk

Twitter: EmilyGale

Emily Gale is the Online Children’s Specialist, and a writer of fiction for children and young adults.

Reviews

The Bad Guys: Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Aaron Blabey has made a name for himself with his highly original picture books. His bold humour and eye-popping, mischievous artwork are a perfect foil for unexpectedly tender moments and off-the-wa…

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Frankie and Joely by Nova Weetman

Reviewed by Emily Gale

This is a novel that, in the current market, might be called ‘quiet’. For me it was as much of a page-turner as anything you’ll find on the YA shelves because it’s a generous, intense study of that m…

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The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones byWill Mabbitt

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Fond memories of reading Andy Stanton’s inventive and hysterically daft Mr Gum series as a family were brought to mind from the very beginning of this pirate adventure, which hurtles along at breakne…

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Son of Death by Andrew McDonald

Reviewed by Emily Gale

This novel for tweens and up strikes me as clever in several ways. First of all, it openly tells us what it’s about – death – because as all good children’s authors know there’s no pulling the wool o…

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Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Reality and imagination blend seamlessly on every page of this story as a little girl (aged six and the youngest of three) copes with being constantly elbowed out of her siblings' games. Dory’s broth…

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The Super Amazing Adventures of Me, Pig by Emer Stamp

Reviewed by Emily Gale

This is the second outing for dear Pig and his friend Duck. Although I’d highly recommend starting with their first story, The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig, the follow-up stands alone and wea…

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Letters To Leo by Amy Hest & Julie Denos

Reviewed by Emily Gale

The hero of Letters to Leo, Annie, is an upbeat girl in Grade 4 who is quietly confident without being precocious, but as children of that age can often start to become she’s a little hard on herself…

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Violet Ink by Rebecca Westcott

Reviewed by Emily Gale

I came to read Violet Ink with high expectations because it was recommended to me by my 10-year-old. It wasn’t long before I understood exactly why she loved it so much.

With a story told from the …

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Cooper Bartholomew is Dead by Rebecca James

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Australian author Rebecca James writes with the sort of sharp, unpretentious style that makes her books seem straightforward when actually this is a difficult story to pull off. In her third novel – …

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Nona & Me by Clare Atkins

Reviewed by Emily Gale

The ‘me’ of the title is Rosie, a Year 10 girl who lives in the Northern Territory and is going through some familiar trials: separated parents, a confusing friendship group, and a crush on her frien…

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The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Reviewed by Emily Gale

This book took me by surprise. My instinct is usually to pass on anything with an elaborate dress on the front cover, but this was thoroughly entertaining melodrama. The premise has a hint of The Han

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Use Your Imagination by Nicola O'Byrne

Reviewed by Emily Gale

I love the mixture of fairy-tale peril and playful humour in Use Your Imagination. Rabbit falls into the familiar trap of not being careful what he wishes for during a moment of boredom, and soon it …

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Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Mrs Poodle adores her four children. Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La are dainty creatures no bigger than teacups. Gaston, however, is tea-pot sized. With his different build and rough voice, Gaston puts in…

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Vanilla Ice Cream by Bob Graham

Reviewed by Emily Gale

By cleverly imagining the chain of events that might lead to a small child accidentally having their first ever taste of vanilla ice-cream, this new picture book by Bob Graham will have wide appeal. …

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The Boy’s Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew by Eli Glasman

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Here’s a fine response to the call for more diverse YA books: the story of a gay teenager growing up in the Orthodox Jewish community of Melbourne.

Yossi is a devoted, intelligent member of the clos…

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Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Razorhurst is set in a place and time that may be unfamiliar to readers when they begin – Surry Hills, Sydney, in the 1930s – but a strong opening chapter places our feet firmly in the grotty backstr…

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The Minnow by Diana Sweeney

Reviewed by Emily Gale

I like the way that YA fiction tackles the overwhelming events that scar each passing year, offering young readers a way in through a character they may identify with. The Minnow, which won the Text …

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Figgy in the World by Tamsin Janu

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Figgy has the most fantastic outlook on life. She really only has one complaint, and that’s her unusual name. The rest of her considerable energy is spent pondering the big wide world, until one day …

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Bleakboy and Hunter Stand Out in the Rain by Steven Herrick

Reviewed by Emily Gale

This school-based novel is a story of many contrasts: from the excellently bold cover and the whimsical title, to the two main characters – thoughtful Bleakboy and school bully Hunter – who share the…

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The Bushranger’s Boys by Alison Lloyd

Reviewed by Emily Gale

The Do You Dare? series is the new companion to the highly successful Our Australian Girl books. Judging by the first story, it’s going to be every bit as popular. These books are sure to attract boy…

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Stay Well Soon by Penny Tangey

Reviewed by Emily Gale

The cover of Stay Well Soon hints at only one side of this wonderful contemporary story about an Australian girl who has just begun Year 5, because although there is certainly sadness and loss for St…

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The Bloodhound Boys: The Great Blood Bank Robbery by Andrew Cranna

Reviewed by Emily Gale

The little monsters of Skull River City have scary names and odd looks but they also behave like normal kids, and it’s this great balance of behaviour young readers can identify with and an exciting,…

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Take a pinch of Margo Lanagan and a dash of Jaclyn Moriarty to form an idea of what this debut author has to offer. Her generational saga, spanning 1904 to 1960, gives a sense of time and place but m…

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The Firebird Mystery by Darrell Pitt

Reviewed by Emily Gale

In his steam punk Sherlock Holmes mashup, Melbourne-based writer Darrell Pitt playfully manipulates reality and history to create a fast-paced mystery.

Teenage orphan Jack Mason keenly misses his ci…

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A Very Good Idea by Meredith Badger

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Fresh material for those growing in confidence with their reading is always welcome, and I think this new series will be popular with parents as well as children.

The Tinkler children (one boy, two …

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Quincy Jordan by Jen Storer

Reviewed by Emily Gale

One of the things I recall about being an avid pre-teen reader was my love of Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High books, that widely criticised series – soap opera in book form – that nobody approved…

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Nine Open Arms by Benny Lindelauf

Reviewed by Emily Gale

We see many successful adult novels translated to English from the Dutch (a notable release of late being Herman Koch’s The Dinner). Nine Open Arms is welcome proof that young adult publishers recogn…

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The Year My Life Broke by John Marsden

Reviewed by Emily Gale

Lately I’ve read some excellent real-life Australian novels for 9–12 year olds that I’ve little doubt had a female-only readership. So I was excited to see a book about ordinary events and relationsh…

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The Kensington Reptilarium by Nikki Gemmell

Reviewed by Emily Gale

I was drawn to this book by the sweet figures on the cover, which I recognised as being the work of talented Australian illustrator Allison Colpoys. Her artwork perfectly suits this slightly dotty, t…

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Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door by Ross Montgomery

Reviewed by Emily Gale

In the tradition of Roald Dahl’s child-led adventures that feature a range of stupid and/or horrible adults comes this story about a very likeable boy and how he battles through a range of wacky adve…

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News

Which dog should you take to work?

by Emily Gale

Happy Take-Your-Dog-To-Work Day!

Although there are many dog owners among our staff, unfortunately not one of our beloved friends have the qualifications necessary for work experience at Readings. So to console ourselves until the working day is over and we can return home to… see what they’ve destroyed this time… we’ve made a list of fictional dogs in picture books and junior fiction who would …

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The beginner’s guide to Liane Moriarty

by Emily Gale

When it comes to Liane Moriarty, I’ve been the ultimate fanwoman since 2009, the year that What Alice Forgot was published. That’s just my overblown way of saying that I’ve read all of her novels and drop everything when a new one comes out, suddenly finding time to sit for hours straight while the children starve, work piles up and my home turns to rubble.

For the duration of each book, Liane M…

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June highlights in children’s and young adult books

by Emily Gale

A word that keeps coming up when we talk about YA is resilience. Melbourne writers Fiona Wood (Wildlife) and Gabrielle Williams (The Guy, The Girl, The Artist and His Ex) spoke very movingly about resilience as a theme of their recent work during a Readings event. Visiting US author Laurie Halse Anderson also used the phrase ‘Resilience Lit’ to describe what she writes (The Impossible Knife of Me

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Recommendations and favourite quotes from Reading Matters 2015

by Emily Gale

Last week I had my first real experience of Reading Matters, the Melbourne YA conference organised by the Centre for Youth Literature. (Previously, I had been the bookseller at the conference where the appetite for books is so high that I didn’t have time to see the panels.) Reading Matters provides high-school students, YA-lit professionals and the public with the opportunity to meet some of the…

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May highlights in children’s and young adult books

by Emily Gale

As I compose this sentence, election fever is about to come to the boil in my home country and so, in the spirit of democracy, I asked my colleagues to help me compile this blog post by each voting for their favourite new release. PICTURE BOOKS Kathy’s pick: Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich by Lorraine Francis and Pieter Gaudesaboos

Kathy loves this stylish, over-sized board book about …

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April Round-up of Kids' & YA Books

by Emily Gale

This month I’ll begin in the middle, for a change, with a crop of great new books to feed your eager 9+ year olds.

For kids who like something out of the ordinary – think magical realism meets different periods in history meets a mysterious quest – plus the challenge of multiple storylines, Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan looks really promising and is recommended for (roughly) grades 5-9.

And I’m cert…

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