#LoveOzYABloggers is a meme to fuel the conversation providing themed prompts that bloggers or anyone on social media can respond to fortnightly.
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Unlike a lot of people, I loved my high school experience. I wasn’t popular with the students, but I was with the teachers because I was one of those rare kids who actually wanted to go to school and learn and push myself. I was a straight A student and used to make excuses to my peers that my parents would get ‘angry’ if I didn’t get an A. It wasn’t true. My parents didn’t mind what grade I got so long as I tried. It was me putting way too much pressure on myself. In fact, I pushed myself so hard that in 10th grade I had a kind of breakdown for a couple of days when I could no longer handle my bullying math teacher (whom I made an official complaint against).
I had this best friend for a couple of years and we were very tight, until a boy came along that we both liked, and it tore our relationship apart. That’s why I love reading YA about strong female friendships.
The books I have chosen for this week’s #LoveOzYABlogger meme are three that largely take place in high school, not just starring high-school age Aussie teens.
In Kylie Fornasier’s The Things I Didn’t Say, Piper has Selective Mutism due to her high social anxiety and meets West, high school darling and football star. Despite her barely speaking two words to him, they fall in love. Piper is his tutor and West reveals that he’d rather be a chef than the lawyer his family is pressuring him to be. West is really sweet and quite an awesome boyfriend, and he’s realistic too because he does get impatient with Piper sometimes and doesn’t understand why she can’t say that she loves him out loud. We see how difficult it is for Piper in everyday life, for example when a substitute teacher who doesn’t know about her SM tries to force her to speak in class. This is a really good example of an ‘issues’ book and I really enjoyed it.
When Michael Met Mina uses high school to further develop this budding relationship and provide class-based arguments for and against asylum seekers in Australia. Mina might just been a teenager, but she’s lived through war, refugee camps, her baby brother dying, and now that she lives in Australia she works part-time in her parents’ restaurant. Michael is the son of an almost accidentally-built political party leader who is firmly anti-immigration. For some unknown reason, Michael and Mina keep their relationship secret. It’s not like Michael’s forbidden to see a refugee or Mina isn’t allowed to date. The book is light on plot and heavy on building the relationship between a headstrong survivor and a boy who questions what his parents have taught him to believe.
Fury by Shirley Marr is about a group of school girls who decide to take on bullies and give them a taste of their own medicine when one lesson goes too far and they are accused of murder. Eliza, our anti-hero, is rich, lazy, narcissistic, remorseless, and a privileged brat, and she knows it. She is fiercely loyal to her group of girlfriends but she is also selfish and makes mistakes. It’s very ‘Mean Girls’ and I love that. It’s also set in Perth, which is awesome. Beware the fury of a teenage girl.