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Leanne Hall’s Top 5 Young Adult Books

Leanne Hall is an Australian-Japanese writer of short stories, non-fiction and YA novels. Her award-winning debut novel This is Shyness is the tale of Wildgirl and Wolfboy, two teens from different sides of the proverbial tracks who meet in and set off on an adventure through Shyness, a place where the sun no longer rises.  Using elements of fantasy, Hall explores the reality of young love and teen bullying. Hall will speak about her work on Wednesday, May 22 at 7:30pm.
Here she picks her top five Young Adult books.
1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. This is a very odd, very prettily told story about a young art student living in Prague who finds herself caught between the worlds of angels and beasts. Romantic and strange and surprising, Laini Taylor’s writing manages to be both urban and contemporary, and poetic and timeless.
2. Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar. Carly has isolated herself in an Australian coastal town, trying to forget the terrible events of a few years ago by working hard in a kitchen, and surfing as often as possible. Every character in this smart and simple book rings with truth,  and the reader can’t help but ache with hope that Carly will see better times.
3. The Owl Service by Alan Garner. An oldie, but a goodie, Alan Garner weaves a creepy tale of a tragic love triangle repeating itself in the Welsh countryside. I’m a sucker for myths retold, and this is one of the best. Although written in the Sixties, Garner’s story reads as thoroughly modern, and still has the ability to send a gentle chill through me.
4. The Fitzosbornes At War by Michelle Cooper – The Montmaray Journals trilogy converted me into a reader of historical fiction, something I never anticipated happening (I’ll admit it, I was a hater). Michelle Cooper’s fantastic family story of WWII, featuring the inimitable observant, funny and sarcastic journalistic voice of Sophie FitzOsborne mixes together fact and fiction in a concoction that is chock-full of historical detail and slides down fast. This is the final book in the trilogy, and it’s the most exciting and heartbreaking of the three.
5. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. This book starts with a talking dog, and only gets better from there. The first of three books, Knife delivers a frightening depiction of life in a pioneering society of men in a very different environment. The protagonist Tod scrambles from the outset to keep up with the continual revelations about the society he has been born into. Brutal and uncompromising, the rest of the Chaos Walking trilogy is almost too hot for me to handle. Ness writes so well, I sometimes have difficulty remembering that the events of the books are not real.

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