The Readings Prize: Young Adult shortlist

The Readings Young Adult Prize is presented to the best new voice in Australian young adult literature. This report is written by 2022 chair of judges Julia Jackson (Readings Carlton assistant manager), with contributions from fellow judges: Mike Shuttleworth (Readings Hawthorn) and Clodagh Robinson-Watts (Readings Carlton).

Discover the six shortlisted titles below.

The Museum of Broken Things by Lauren Draper

Reece has a great heart, full of very big, complicated feelings, and her journey as an uprooted, unmoored and alienated ‘new adult’ is almost that of a modern Jane Eyre. This book is a wonderful and astute story about loss and coping with sudden change and new relationships at the business-end of high school. For ages 14+.

‘Lauren Draper has executed a book with a great sense of empathy, not only for Reece, but for all the characters and their trials and tribulations.’ – Julia Jackson

Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn

Set in the shanty towns of Durban, South Africa, this is a beautiful and compassionate coming-of-age story exploring how having mixed race heritage and confronting racism can shape identity. Even though the characters face unpleasant truths and attitudes, the strength and resilience among families and in oneself is writ large. For ages 13+.

‘This wonderful book is filled with zest and liveliness that belies the legacy of institutionalised racism and poverty in South Africa.’ – Julia Jackson

Sunburnt Veils by Sara Haghdoosti

Thirty years after Looking for Alibrandi, its legacy is carried on in Sunburnt Veils, a book that deserves to be discussed in classes everywhere. At first glance an exciting peek into the future for teens embarking on the wild ride that is the first year of uni, this story is also an extremely important immersion into what it takes to succeed in a country that still holds baseless prejudices against you. For ages 16+.

‘Despite the serious subject matter (or perhaps because of it), this wonderful little gem of a book is a fun, compulsively readable journey into bravery and self-actualisation filled with vibrant characters and achingly realistic romance.’ – Clodagh Robinson-Watts

Underground by Mirranda Burton

The 1960s wasn’t all peace, love and understanding and Underground brings it all back home. It was a time when Jean McLean and her artist friends in Melbourne devised cunning acts of civil disobedience to stop young men being sent to war in Vietnam. Mirranda Burton’s stylish black-and-white graphic novel is a true story of the struggle for social justice in our own backyard, literally. For ages 14+.

‘Get set to meet the women and men who saved lives and built friendships with new arrivals from a country we were supposed to fear.’ – Mike Shuttleworth

We Who Hunt the Hollow by Kate Murray

Post-apocalyptic Melbourne in the not-too-distant future? Check. Bad-arse matriarchal family of warriors? Check. Animal familiars that help vanquish the monsters from the void known as the Hollow? Check. Priscilla, the youngest member of a family of power-wielding warrior-women, will be hugely relatable to awkward teenagers as she struggles with her new power to summon monsters. For ages 12+.

‘A fantastic book from a fresh new voice with all the makings of a hit fantasy series: monsters from a void, guerrilla rebels, teenage self-doubt, alienation and romantic confusion. Ándele, book two!’ – Clodagh Robinson-Watts

What We All Saw by Mike Lucas

Four friends, a ruined castle with a dark past, witches, and a long history of missing children are all key ingredients for a great spooky story. What We All Saw has all of these elements – and more! – in spades, capturing your attention from start to finish. This is a brilliant piece of writing from an emerging new voice. For ages 12+.

‘Here’s a test: read the opening paragraph of this book and stop there. I won’t spoil it for you by quoting the opening but what unfolds is a realistic, dramatic, haunting tale of four friends and the mysterious disappearance of a fifth child.’ – Mike Shuttleworth

We are pleased to offer all six books on the 2022 shortlist in a specially priced pack. You can buy this pack in-store and online for the special price of $115 (was $134.94).

The winner of The Readings Young Adult Prize will be announced live at a special event during October. Asphyxia, winner of last year’s Young Adult Fiction Prize for Future Girl, will join as a guest judge to decide on this year’s winner.

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Cover image for The Museum of Broken Things

The Museum of Broken Things

Lauren Draper

In stock at 4 shops, ships in 3-4 daysIn stock at 4 shops