Young Adult Literature in Australia

While the U.S. is a hot spot for entertainment and the Young Adult Literature market is successful, with Hollywood adaptations being made from dozens of different Young Adult books, Australia is boasting of similar success. The first of Australian YA stars is Melbourne’s Amie Kaufman, she has published in thirty different countries and her newest book, Gemina, is selling by the thousands (Johnson). However, there has been an issue that because of how successful America is, that when an Australian author publishes a book, it usually has to do well in America before the success travels back to Australia. Nicole Armanno, an education sales account manager for the third largest bookstore in Australia says that “it’s kind of embarrassing…that Australian YA books still need overseas success before Australia catches up, but that’s how it is” (Johnson). This unfortunate situation that Australian YA authors are in is what started the #LoveOzYA which fights to keep the literature local. The Australian Library and Information Association announced that “eight out of the 10 most borrowed YA books from ­Australian libraries for the first quarter of the year were American” (Johnson). Of the top books doing well in Australia the majority of them are American. But there has been momentum in Australia’s favor as Danielle Binks pointed out that Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor series: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, has been marketed as a bestseller (Johnson). While America is the hub for entertainment in the world right now, Australia is on the rise with dedicated authors who care about their work, and care about seeing success locally. They desire that their books impact Australian adolescents and spark in them a love for local literature. America may be on top but they’re not going anywhere. Who knows, maybe in a decade or two American books will have to go through Australia before they’re big.

Works Cited

Johnson, S. (2017, November 23). Business is booming for Australia’s young adult fiction authors. Retrieved from

On the Jellicoe Road

Jellicoe Road is a fictional road inside the city of Jellicoe, Australia. The road is home to a boarding school, the home of Hannah Schroeder, and the 7/11 that Taylor Markham’s mom left her at when she was only eleven years old. When Taylor was left by her mom it was Hannah that picked her up and took her in as her own. Throughout the next few years Taylor is suffering through the pain of losing her mom, while also asking the questions, where did she go? And could I possibly find her? Taylor is not the only character in this novel to suffer through a severe tragedy; Taylor’s mom loses her husband, suffers from a drug addiction, and battles cancer; Hannah lost her brother to a hunting accident; there was a car accident in the beginning where multiple characters lost loved ones. This young adult novel by Melina Marchetta is riddled with searing loss, pain, but just a little bit of hope.

Starting with the tragedy that is Taylor. This is the only book from the semester that deals with orphanage. Taylor doesn’t understand why her mom left her, and doesn’t understand why Hannah, her only guardian, keeps her at an arm’s distance. Hannah’s house was never finished, which warranted Taylor saying that “Hannah’s house has been unfinished ever since I can remember. Deep down I think that’s always been a comfort to me, because people don’t leave unfinished houses” (Marchetta 22). She was scared that Hannah might not truly care about her. As far as she knows she’s expendable, if her mom left why couldn’t Hannah?? It was a comfort that the house wasn’t finished because in her mind it meant that Hannah wasn’t going anywhere. Later in the novel Taylor develops a relationship with Jonah Briggs, leader of the cadets, a group from a military school that trains in Jellicoe for a few weeks every year. There were parts of Jonah’s life that made Taylor’s look like a fantasy. His father was abusive to him and his siblings and it one day led to Jonah beating his dad in the hat with a bat, leaving him dead. This leads him to a life of guilt. “I loved him, you know” (Marchetta 179), he tells Taylor. It seems that the intense pain that both of them have suffered leads to their attraction to each other. They share a common tragedy that brings them together and eventually in search of Taylor’s mother. Jonah has an intense dream about his father that causes him to go home, leaving Taylor. Again she is left and feels disposable, causing her to despise Jonah.

This novel proves to be plenty of heartache and pain. It was hard to read as someone who hasn’t experienced anything like the book, so I can only imagine the impact it has on kids that see themselves in this story. However, it shows that there is something special in having people around you struggling in the same ways. Having people who understand you and care for you proves to be a source of healing. On the Jellicoe Road talks a lot about the search for a family, but not just a blood family, but others that Taylor can belong to. The language used makes it easy to put on the shoes of the characters and feel how they feel. “These people have history and I crave history. I crave someone knowing me so well that they can tell what I’m thinking” (Marchetta 201). The word crave is repeated here. She doesn’t just want someone knowing her well, she needs it. This is what drives her on her journey to find her mother. She craves it.

There are satisfying points to this narrative, Taylor does eventually reunite with her mother. As mentioned before there was an accident concerning some character in the book. This is where Taylor’s mom lost her parents and her little sister. It is also where she met the brother sister combo, Webb and Hannah. She ended up marrying Webb but after he was accidentally killed she couldn’t handle the pain. She got hooked on drugs and decided she was no longer fit to be a mother, and asked Hannah to take care of Taylor for her. Hannah agreed to take her in and also agreed to not tell Taylor the truth of what happened to protect her. This seems counterproductive as it caused a lot or hurt for Tylor, but when her mom was on her deathbed she was brought to meet her. Taylor gets to have a sigh of relief but it doesn’t undermine the amount of pain she experienced through her life. The book has a promising theme of even through the hardest times, it is important to have those around you who love you.

Works Cited

Marchetta, M. (2009). On the Jellicoe Road. Australia: Penguin Australia.


Apartheid is a form of institutionalized racism that was prevalent in South Africa during the mid to late 20th century (Inggs 5). However, what happened after apartheid? Was it one and done? As we’ve seen in America, changing laws doesn’t eliminate racism completely. Well first we need to realize the fact that the discrimination goes far beyond race. It is no longer appropriate to define race in relation to biological or cultural origins, because of the immense processes of hybridity unleashed in contemporary life due to globalization (Inggs 45). Now if discrimination is viewed as more than just race, and race is more than biological skin color, how should we define it? Well looking at the young adult literature in South Africa we can see discrimination is being placed more heavily and class and wealth. Sarah Britten is a white writer who wrote novels with characters that were discriminated due to their class and amount of wealth instead of their race. The books emphasize the changes in perceptions of race in culture in her novels, Dolby: The Worst Year of my Life–So Far (2000) and Welcome to the Martin Tudhope Show! (2002), both of which stand out from other works in terms of experimentation with narrative voice and technique (Inggs 46). The period after apartheid in South Africa was a transitional one and we can see from looking at young adult novels from the time that the ideas of race and discrimination were clearly changing. These ideas stayed consistent even in novels that starred colored main characters. Examples of books like these would be Fiona Snycker’s Team Trilogy (2013) and Edyth Bulbring’s A Month with April-May (2013) (Inggs 47). Both of these works follow a similar pattern of discrimination based on wealth and class, even though the protagonists and author are of color.

Works Cited

Inggs, J. (2016). Transition and Transgression: English Young Adult Fiction in Post-Apartheid South Africa. SpringerBriefs in Education. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-25534-7