Top Ten Young Adult Books Set in Australia


Hello and happy Top Ten Tuesday, you guys! This week’s theme is ‘books set outside the US’, which I think is a great idea because most popular YA books, well, probably have the US as a setting.

For this post I’ve decided to focus on #LoveOZYA titles specifically set in Australia. Some books on here I have read and would recommend, some I have read and wouldn’t recommend, and some are on my TBR. Let’s get to it! ❤

1) Life in Outer Space – Melissa Keil

Life in Outer SpaceSam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls.

Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it.

Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies … but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones.


WHAT’S INTERESTING: This book was just super fun and geeky! And how it utilises the setting (read: my beloved Melbourne) is pretty great too.

2) Zac and Mia – A. J. Betts

Zac and Mia“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.”

So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.


WHAT’S INTERESTING: Some have called this book Australia’s The Fault in Our Stars — they have very similar themes and very similar stories. I actually liked this one better, though, but I confess I’m not a huge fan of John Green. 😛

3) Stolen – Lucy Christopher

StolenSixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described.

Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her.

Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?


WHAT’S INTERESTING: This was creeeepy, but really gripping. I read it a couple of years back and some parts of it still flash in my mind occasionally, which very rarely happens.

4) The Yearbook Committee – Sarah Ayoub

The Yearbook Committee Sarah AyoubThe school captain: Ryan has it all … or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?

The newcomer: Charlie’s just moved interstate and she’s determined not to fit in. She’s just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends.

The loner: At school, nobody really notices Matty. But at home, Matty is everything. He’s been single-handedly holding things together since his mum’s breakdown, and he’s never felt so alone.

The popular girl: Well, the popular girl’s best friend … cool by association. Tammi’s always bowed to peer pressure, but when the expectations become too much to handle, will she finally stand up for herself?

The politician’s daughter: Gillian’s dad is one of the most recognisable people in the state and she’s learning the hard way that life in the spotlight comes at a very heavy price.

Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?


WHAT’S INTERESTING: It’s written kind of like Seven Ways We Lie — it has multiple perspectives of several students who don’t usually hang out but are now gathered together for one reason or another.

5) Breathing Under Water – Sophie Hardcastle

Breathing Under Water Sophie HardcastleBen and Grace Walker are twins. Growing up in a sleepy coastal town it was inevitable they’d surf. Always close, they hung out more than most brothers and sisters, surfing together for hours as the sun melted into the sea. At seventeen, Ben is a rising surf star, the golden son and the boy all the girls fall in love with. Beside him, Grace feels like she is a mere reflection of his light. In their last year of school, the world beckons, full of possibility. For Grace, finishing exams and kissing Harley Matthews is just the beginning.

Then, one day, the unthinkable. The sun sets at noon and suddenly everything that was safe and predictable is lost. And everything unravels.


WHAT’S INTERESTING: I admit, I didn’t like this book that much but I know people who do! For me the plot was OK, but the characterisation and language let me down.

6) When Michael Met Mina – Randa Abdel-Fattah

When Michael Met MinaWhen Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides.

Mina fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre.Michael’s parents have founded a new political party called Aussie Values.

They want to stop the boats. Mina wants to stop the hate.

When Mina wins a scholarship to Michael’s private school, their lives crash together blindingly.


WHAT’S INTERESTING: This is a veeeery relevant book to Australians because it deals with the very current issue of “stopping the boats” (i.e. refugees seeking asylum).

7) Frankie – Shivaun Plozza

Frankie Shivaun PlozzaFrankie Vega is angry. Just ask the guy whose nose she broke. Or the cop investigating the burglary she witnessed, or her cheating ex-boyfriend or her aunt who’s tired of giving second chances…

When a kid shows up claiming to be Frankie’s half brother, it opens the door to a past she doesn’t want to remember. And when that kid goes missing, the only person willing to help is a boy with stupidly blue eyes … and secrets of his own. Frankie’s search for the truth might change her life, or cost her everything.


WHAT’S INTERESTING: I’ll be honest — this one was more of a cover pick than anything else. We’ll see if the story holds up.

8) The Sidekicks – Will Kostakis

The Sidekicks Will KostakisThe Swimmer. The Rebel. The Nerd.

All Ryan, Harley and Miles had in common was Isaac. They lived different lives, had different interests and kept different secrets. But they shared the same best friend. They were sidekicks. And now that Isaac’s gone, what does that make them?

Will Kostakis, award-winning author of The First Third, perfectly depicts the pain and pleasure of this teenage world, piecing together three points of view with intricate splendour.


WHAT’S INTERESTING: I’ve heard things about this one being divided into novella-like sections! I’m not a huge fan of novellas, but maybe this way I’d like it. 😛

9) Laurinda – Alice Pung

Laurinda Alice PungLaurinda is an exclusive school for girls. At its hidden centre of power is The Cabinet, a triangle of girls who wield power over their classmates – and some of their teachers.

Entering this world of wealth and secrets is Lucy Lam, a scholarship girl with sharp eyes and a shaky sense of self. As she watches The Cabinet in action, and is courted by them – as she learns about power and repression – Lucy finds herself in a battle for her identity and integrity.


WHAT’S INTERESTING: The Cabinet sounds kind of mysterious? And I’m curious to see what kind of power they hold over teachers, and more specifically how.

10) Cloudwish – Fiona Wood

CloudwishFor Vân Uoc Phan, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing, or pointless. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, for example? Pointless. It always left her feeling sick, as though she’d eaten too much sugar.

Vân Uoc doesn’t believe in fairies, zombies, vampires, Father Christmas – or magic wishes. She believes in keeping a low profile: real life will start when school finishes.

But when she attracts the attention of Billy Gardiner, she finds herself in an unwelcome spotlight.Not even Jane Eyre can help her now.


WHAT’S INTERESTING: This book sounds cute, and it’s apparently set in Melbourne? Vân Uoc is the Australian-born daughter of Vietnamese refugees so I’m hoping some of that culture shines through, too.

What’s on your TTT this week? Leave me a link or let me know in the comments! 🙂

77 thoughts on “Top Ten Young Adult Books Set in Australia

  1. I’ve not read any of these but am definitely going to add a few to my tbr after reading your list 😀 Life in Outer Space sounds like something I would enjoy and I really like the look of The Yearbook Committee too!


  2. It’s so cool that you found 10 books set in Australia! I think I would have had a real tough time finding 10 for Austria … well … I bet I could, but they’d mostly be depressing WWII or other spy crime stuff that I wouldn’t actually have read but only heard about, because mostly that kind of literature is too cynic for me. Sorry for the long ramble. Great list!


    • Hmmm, I’m not sure what the publishing scene is like in Austria, but while it’s not SUPER THRIVING in Australia, publishers are pretty active, so there are quite a few LoveOzYA books published every year. 😛

      Aww, yeah. I get why authors would draw on things that are relevant to their settings though – it happens with these books as well, except Australia I don’t think as long a history as Austria does.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw When Michael met Mina on the shelf at the library I work this week! I loved Randal Abdel-Fattah’s book Does My Head Look Big in This? when my class read it in high school. I want to read her new book, but it sounds very heavy (while extremely important). Was it confronting/angering?


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