A very big welcome to Michelle, an Australian blogger who runs the fabulous The Unfinished Bookshelf! Michelle’s blog features a mixture of reviews, Q&As, guest posts, interviews, and bookish discussion. I first became aware of Michelle and her blog a few months ago and I’ve been obsessed ever since! It’s so interesting to hear an Australian’s opinion of UKYA and it’s even more interesting to hear about Australian YA! This is the first blogger interview to feature on my blog and I’m so pleased to heave Michelle fill the number 1 spot!
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1) What’s your favourite book ever?
You’ve kicked things off with the most impossible question! I like it! Hmmm, I really want to say Anne of Green Gables although I’ve only read it once. I grew up watching the movies, so when I finally read the book last year I felt like I already knew it so well. I loved Anne’s character because I always wanted to be outgoing and fun like her when I was younger. Also, Gilbert was my first crush. No matter how old I get, the story and its characters will always, always be so special to me.
2) Book or series that you think are over-rated?
3) Favourite UKYA book?
I still have so much more to discover when it comes to UKYA! But, I’m going to cheat a little and pick two books. Both these books completely broke my heart, but I absolutely adored them. The first is Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, which just blew me away. I also loved the setting as I’ve always been fascinated by WWII. The second is Saving Daisy by Phil Earle, which is unflinchingly honest and so, so raw.
4) Favourite Australian YA book?
This is so difficult to pick because most of my all-time favourites are Aussie YA. In the same way UKYA has a particular feel to it, there’s something incredibly magical about Aussie YA. But, since I’ve got to pick just one I’ll go with Head of the River by Pip Harry. This is a gorgeous story about a twin brother and sister, Leni and Cristian, who want to follow in their parents’ footsteps and compete in rowing at an Olympic level. It explores the pressures both feel and the drastically different ways they both deal with that. I loved it partly because I could relate so much to Leni, also Harry’s writing is beautiful and so compelling.
5) What’s the 1 book that you’d recommend to your 16 year old self and why?
Although it wasn’t published at the time I was 16, I would love to take Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter back in time for my teenage self. When I was in high school, I had so many dramas with my friends and at the time I used to agonise over it every afternoon when I got home. It wasn’t until I got to uni and met a few new people as well that I realised friendship didn’t have to be that difficult, there didn’t need to be so much drama. Paper Aeroplanes is one of the most honest and accurate explorations of female friendship, but it’s also hilariously funny and heart-warming and I think my 16-year-old self would really appreciate that.
6) What’s your guilty pleasure read?
Great question! It’s not something I’ve ever really thought about before, but I’d have to say any of Sophie Kinsella’s adult books or Meg Cabot’s Queen of Babble series as they all made me laugh so much and were really light, fun reads.
7) What book have you re-read the most number of times?
I actually don’t re-read very much, especially not since I started blogging because I have so many new books I want to get through and I’m a pretty slow reader. I think the books I re-read most were actually from my childhood. One of my first ‘big’ books was Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng which I read so many times I can still probably recite the entire plot. When I was a little older, perhaps 11 or 12, I read Secrets by Jacqueline Wilson over and over again.
8) What’s on your wishlist?
I just got back from holidays where I bought five books I’ve been dying to read, so my wish list for published books is actually a little bare at the moment! But there are a couple of Aussie books by some of my favourite authors I can’t wait to read when they’re released later this year: Inbetween Days by Vikki Wakefield, Cloudwish by Fiona Wood and The Lake House by Kate Morton.
I’m also already anticipating Cath Crowley’s The Howling Boy which is expected to be published next year. And although I haven’t yet read A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab, I can’t wait to get my hands on A Gathering of Shadows, as well as her next YA novel.
9) 2015 top 3 books so far?
The Intern by Gabrielle Tozer. I loved the main character Josie, who is interning at a popular magazine as part of her uni degree. This is such a fun read and bought back many lovely memories of my internship at a Sydney magazine.
Lobstersby Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison. Again, this was just so much fun to read. Hannah and Sam both want to lose their virginity over the summer holidays before college, but fate keeps intervening. I loved both Hannah and Sam, as soon as I finished this I wanted to start it again!
Crow Moon by Anna McKerrow. This wasn’t my usual contemporary read, but I loved it. Set in the future, the novel follows Danny, a teenager living in the Greenworld which has sort of broken away from the rest of society to live in a self-sufficient community while those in the Redworld wage wars over dwindling fuel supplies. There’s plenty of magic in this as well, with witches protecting each village in the Greenworld.
10) What’s you ultimate reading recommendation?
Another tough question! I’m going to recommend the Every series by Ellie Marney (Every Breath, Every Word and Every Move). I loved this series so much! Set in Melbourne, it follows James Mycroft and Rachel Watts as they get drawn into a series of Sherlock-esque mysteries. There is so much chemistry between Mycroft and Watts, it’s ridiculous. If you love Sherlock, you HAVE to read this series. If you don’t, you should really read this anyway because it’s awesome.