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Best Young Adult Book
Subcategory of Davitt Award
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2020 winner y separately published work icon Four Dead Queens Astrid Scholte , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2019 15075135 2019 single work novel fantasy young adult

'Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington is one of Quadara's most skilled thieves, but when she steals an unexpectedly valuable package from a messenger she is soon entangled in a conspiracy that leads to all four of Quadara's queens being murdered. With no other choices and on the run from her former employer, Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, and together they race to discover who has killed the queens. But when dark secrets threaten their reluctant partnership and put everything at stake, Keralie and Varin must use all their daring to stay alive and untangle the mysteries behind the nation's four dead queens.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2019 winner y separately published work icon Small Spaces Sarah Epstein , Glebe : Walker Books Australia , 2018 13957629 2018 single work novel young adult thriller

'We don’t pick and choose what to be afraid of. Our fears pick us.”

'Tash Carmody has been traumatised since childhood, when she witnessed her gruesome imaginary friend Sparrow lure young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. At the time nobody believed Tash, and she has since come to accept that Sparrow wasn’t real. Now fifteen and mute, Mallory’s never spoken about the week she went missing. As disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. And she realises Mallory is the key to unlocking the truth about a dark secret connecting them. Does Sparrow exist after all? Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2018 winner y separately published work icon Ballad for a Mad Girl Vikki Wakefield , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2017 10605233 2017 single work novel young adult fantasy horror

'Everyone knows seventeen-year-old Grace Foley is a bit mad. She’s a prankster and a risk-taker, and she’s not afraid of anything—except losing. As part of the long-running feud between two local schools in Swanston, Grace accepts a challenge to walk the pipe. That night she experiences something she can’t explain. The funny girl isn’t laughing anymore. She’s haunted by voices and visions—but nobody believes a girl who cries wolf.

As she’s drawn deeper into a twenty-year-old mystery surrounding missing girl Hannah Holt, the thin veil between this world and the next begins to slip. She can no longer tell what’s real or imagined—all she knows is the ghosts of Swanston, including that of her own mother, are restless. It seems one of them has granted her an extraordinary gift at a terrible price. Everything about her is changing—her body, her thoughts, even her actions seem to belong to a stranger. Grace is losing herself, and her friends don’t understand. Is she moving closer to the truth? Or is she heading for madness?' (Publication summary)

2017 winner y separately published work icon Frankie Shivaun Plozza , Melbourne : Penguin , 2016 9339864 2016 single work novel young adult

'Frankie 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.' (Publication summary)

2015 winner y separately published work icon The Ratcatcher's Daughter Pamela Rushby , Sydney South : HarperCollins Australia , 2014 6859993 2014 single work children's fiction children's historical fiction

'It's 1900. Thirteen-year-old Issy McKelvie leaves school and starts her first job - very reluctantly - as a maid in an undertaking establishment. She thinks this is about as low as you can go. But there's worse to come.

'Issy becomes an unwilling rat-catcher when the plague - the Black Death - arrives in Australia. Issy loathes both rats and her father's four yappy, snappy, hyperactive rat-killing terriers. But when her father becomes ill it's up to Issy to join the battle to rid the city of the plague-carrying rats.' (Publisher's blurb)

2015 winner y separately published work icon Every Word Ellie Marney , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2014 7637859 2014 single work novel young adult mystery

'Rachel is still getting used to the idea of Mycroft being her boyfriend when he disappears to London with Professor Walsh. They're investigating the carjacking death of the rare books conservator, which appears to be linked to the theft of a Shakespeare First Folio from the Bodleian Library. Worried about similarities between the conservator's accident and the death of Mycroft's own parents, Rachel follows Mycroft to London ... and straight into a whole storm of trouble.' (Publication summary)

2014 winner y separately published work icon The Midnight Dress Karen Foxlee , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2013 Z1910720 2013 single work novel mystery crime 'When a teenage girl disappears, a small town is awash with rumours: everyone is talking about the dress she wore, a midnight-blue dress made from the remnants of other dresses, a dress of stories ...

For her whole life, Rose Lovell has moved from town to town with her alcoholic father. When they wash up in a coastal sugarcane town, Rose wonders if this time it will be different.

At the local high school, Rose meets Pearl Kelly, who is popular, pretty and intent on tracking down her Russian father. When she convinces Rose to be part of the annual Harvest Parade, Rose must find a special dress for the occasion. She seeks the help of the eccentric Edie Baker, who knows all the town's secrets and whose own family is a rich tapestry of stories. When Rose agrees to let Edie teach her to sew, she doesn't realise that nothing will ever be the same again.

The Midnight Dress weaves an intriguing story of loss and longing to the very last page.' (Publisher's blurb)
2013 winner y separately published work icon The Tunnels of Tarcoola Jennifer Walsh , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2012 Z1834415 2012 single work children's fiction children's mystery ''Come round here!' called David. 'We've found something.' 'I'm showing them.' Andrea pushed him aside. 'It's my cave!' She lowered herself into the hole. Her head disappeared, and a moment later they heard her voice, faint and slightly hollow. 'Come on!' A network of tunnels leading under the park, a secret exit to an abandoned mansion, a hidden box of documents...all very mysterious, but it's just a game, right? Wrong. When shadowy figures start watching every move they make, Kitty, David, Andrea and Martin know they've stumbled onto more than a forgotten piece of history. They need to find all the answers fast, before someone beats them to it.' (From the publisher's website.)
2012 winner y separately published work icon Surface Tension Megan McKinlay , Newtown : Walker Books Australia , 2011 Z1770486 2011 single work children's fiction children's adventure mystery 'When Cassie and Liam start swimming at the lake neither of them realises the dark secrets that lie beneath. As summer heats up and the lake waters become lower and lower, the shocking truth is slowly uncovered. And soon, both their lives will change - forever.' (From the publisher's website.)
2011 winner y separately published work icon A Girl Like Me Penny Matthews , Camberwell : Penguin , 2010 Z1689090 2010 single work novel young adult historical fiction

'Their lives couldn't be more different, but Emmie can't help liking Bertha Schippan. She's funny and knowing and wild, and she distracts Emmie from the monotony of farm life in their tiny, isolated community. But, as Emmie soon discovers, Bertha has secrets. Terrible secrets.

'This heartbreaking story is based on a real crime that took place more than a century ago, capturing headlines all around Australia.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2010 winner y separately published work icon Liar Justine Larbalestier , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2009 Z1615108 2009 single work novel young adult (taught in 2 units)

'Secrets, lies, murder and betrayal.

'Micah Wilkins is a liar. But when her boyfriend, Zach, dies under brutal circumstances, the shock might be enough to set her straight. Or maybe not. Especially when lying comes as naturally to her as breathing. Was Micah dating Zach? Did they kiss? Did she see him the night he died? And is she really hiding a family secret? Where does the actual truth lie?

'Liar is a breathtaking roller-coaster read that will have you up all night, desperately seeking for something true.' (From the publisher's website.)

2009 winner y separately published work icon Genius Squad Catherine Jinks , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2008 Z1473146 2008 single work novel young adult

'Sometimes, when it comes to fighting evil, one genius just isn't enough.

'Cadel Piggott's been having a hard time since he chose to be good rather than evil. He doesn't know where he was born. He doesn't know who his father is. And he's under constant threat from Prosper English - the criminal mastermind he helped to put in gaol.

'Will Genius Squad be the answer to all Cadel's prayers? Or is he right to question their motives? Deciding what's good and bad is more difficult than Cadel could ever have imagined ...' (Publisher's blurb)

2008 winner y separately published work icon The Night Has a Thousand Eyes : A Novel Mandy Sayer , London Pymble : Fourth Estate , 2007 Z1409390 2007 single work novel crime young adult Sometimes, all you can do is run . . .When Mark Stamp fires an air gun through the window of his father's shed, he's afraid he may have damaged something. But what he discovers is far worse. Peering through the broken window, he sees such a horrifying sight that he has to flee for his life. His older sister, Ruby, may not be officially old enough to drive, but she can handle the family's van, and Mark, Ruby and the baby set off on a hair-raising adventure across country, escaping the past and their violent father. In her electrifying new novel of family secrets and small-town scandals, Mandy Sayer deftly weaves raw suspense with exquisite prose. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes is a vivid and haunting tale of three kids on the run - and of rumours that spread like wildfire while the truth hides closer to home . . .People always talk about the dangers of speeding; no one ever mentions the risks of travelling too slowly through life. (Publisher's blurb)
2007 winner y separately published work icon The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie The Life of Bindy MacKenzie Jaclyn Moriarty , Sydney : Pan , 2006 Z1266219 2006 single work novel young adult

'Bindy is the smartest girl at Ashbury High. She ranks in the 99.9th percentile in everything she does (including extra-curricular activities - she is casual Employee of the Month every month at Kmart). She is also the kindest girl at Ashbury High. For example:

'Before each school year begins, she memorises departmental outlines of her subjects. That way, she can gently prompt those teachers who forget or stray from the course.

'She reads up on common teen anxieties, and offers lunch-time advisory sessions in a relaxed, convivial setting (the locker room).

'But Bindy suspects that something may be missing - something more than the 0.1 she needs to make the 100th percentile. And, on the first day of Year 11, at the first session of the FAD (Friendship and Development) Project, her worst suspicions are confirmed. Nobody likes her. So Bindy makes a decision. Enough of this compassionate Bindy; she has been wasting her time. The real and ruthless Bindy is about to emerge.'

(Pan Macmillan website)

2006 winner y separately published work icon Evil Genius Catherine Jinks , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2005 Z1187305 2005 single work novel thriller young adult science fiction

'Cadel Piggott is a seven-year-old genius with a knack for systems. He can do just about anything: disable home security systems, hack into government databases and commit credit card fraud. But when he gets in trouble with the police his parents are forced to take him to a therapist, Dr Thaddeus Roth. But Thaddeus is not who he seems and introduces the young Cadel to a world of genetically enhanced misfits who are determined to take over the world. It is only when Cadel meets Sonja, a disabled girl with a powerful mind that can match only his, that his emotions start to catch up with his intellect. But is it too late? Will the forces of evil subsume even this super-intelligent genius, as his whole world proves to be a house of cards?

'Evil Genius explores the fine line between good and evil in a strange world of manipulation and subterfuge.' (Publication summary)

2005 winner y separately published work icon Devastation Road Joanna Baker , South Melbourne : Lothian , 2004 Z1108273 2004 single work novel crime young adult

'It used to be called Station Road, but eight years ago things started catching fire. Then a girl was killed, and someone got smart with the name.

Now it's happening again. There's a fire. Matt Tingle and Chess Febey find a girl drowned in a pond.

Chess isn't Matt's friend. She's one of those people you get stuck with - well meaning, total liability. But she knows how to answer questions, and there are plenty of those: Why are Tara and Wando afraid? What is the meaning of the amber necklace? How can a car be blue and white at the same time?

Before they can find out who killed Debbie, Matt and Chess have to put themselves in danger, they have to look deep into themselves, and they have to reveal things about the past.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.


2004 winner y separately published work icon Muck-Up Day Ruth Starke , South Melbourne : Lothian , 2003 Z1053320 2003 single work children's fiction children's crime People say that school days are the happiest days of your life. I think they've just forgotten what school's like. After twelve long years of it, who can blame the inmates if they go a bit crazy on their final day of imprisonment? When you think about it, Muck-Up Day's just about the perfect day to commit a crime. (Libraries Australia)
2003 winner y separately published work icon Fireworks and Darkness Natalie Jane Prior , Pymble : Angus and Robertson , 2002 Z970558 2002 single work novel young adult fantasy An explosive mix of gunpowder magic and revenge - Cover.
2002 winner y separately published work icon The Three-Pronged Dagger Kerry Greenwood , Port Melbourne : Lothian , 2001 Z894210 2001 single work novel young adult crime

'Everything pointed to Ben ? the three-pronged knife, the scratches on his face. And why was he out and about that dark night?

'Penelope Thanatopoulos doesn't like Benjamin Thorpe but she is shocked when he is suspected of attacking Kevin Friend at the zoo where they are on work experience. Who stabbed Kevin and threw him into the seal pool?

'Penelope makes it her business to find out.' (Publication summary)