AustLit logo
Best Young Adult Book
Subcategory of Queensland Premier's Literary Awards
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


2011 winner y separately published work icon Being Here Barry Jonsberg , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2011 Z1758795 2011 single work novel young adult

'Sixteen-year-old Carly is interviewing Leah Cartwright for her local history project. But Leah resists, determined instead to tell her own story: that of a lonely child on an isolated farm, a girl whose only escape is into the world of books. And when Adam appears in the orchard Leah discovers a friend. A secret friend.

'Leah draws Carly in with the magic of story - to her present, her past, her secrets, and her unique friendship with Adam.

'Being Here is a beautifully told story about a girl whose rich imagination rescues her from a grim reality, and an unlikely boy who changes everything. A compelling novel about love, faith and consequences.' (From the publisher's website.)

2010 winner y separately published work icon Drink the Air Richard Yaxley , Torquay : Richard Yaxley , 2010 Z1716631 2010 single work novel young adult

'Tom lives in Hervey Bay, Zooey in Kingaroy. When separate tragedies bring them together, they are forced to leave their childhood lives behind in order to develop new understandings about how to cope with grief, love, friendship and, most importantly, family. Written with grace and wisdom, Drink The Air is a verse novel which provides an affirmation of the need to give and accept love in order to better understand the truths of our lives.' (Publication summary)

2009 winner y separately published work icon A Small Free Kiss in the Dark Glenda Millard , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2009 Z1554038 2009 single work novel young adult fantasy 'Skip's an outsider, a quiet observer. He draws pictures to make sense of the world. He's never fitted in. So he takes to the streets. Life there may be hard, but it's better than the one he's left, especially when he teams up with old Billy. Then come the bombs which leave little Max in his care, and also Tia, the sad dancer, with her sweet baby, Sixpence. Scavenging for food, living on love and long can Skip's fragile new family hold out as war grips the city?' (Publisher's blurb)
2008 winner y separately published work icon Requiem for a Beast Requiem for a Beast : A Work for Images, Word and Music Matt Ottley , Matt Ottley (illustrator), South Melbourne : Lothian , 2007 Z1397580 2007 single work graphic novel young adult

'Requiem for a Beast is a remarkable exploration of the parallels between a young man's battle for psychological freedom and the processes that bind and blind us in society. Matt Ottley asks readers to be moved by beauty, truth and ultimately the knowledge of their own humanity.

The book contains a CD of orchestral music, composed by Matt Ottley, and Aboriginal song - another meeting of worlds like those in the words and images.' 

Source: Back cover.

2007 winner y separately published work icon One Whole and Perfect Day Judith Clarke , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2006 Z1285617 2006 single work novel young adult "Lily feels both love for and embarrassment about her eccentric family: a grandmother with an imaginary friend, an ax-brandishing grandfather, a mother who brings home patients from the elder-care facility where she works, and an estranged older brother, Lonnie, who still can't seem to get his life together. In a series of implausibly coincidental events (Lonnie's girlfriend's mother also happens to be the random stranger who teaches his grandfather a lesson about racism, for example), all of the family members, and many with whom they come into contact, reach new understanding about themselves and their lives, and all make both small and large changes for the better. In the end, Lily realizes her dream: one "whole and perfect day," in which her entire family comes together and finds happiness. The third-person narration alternates among the many characters' experiences, offering the reader an omniscient view of interconnecting lives in a down-to-earth, Australian setting." (Source: Amazon)
2006 winner y separately published work icon The Red Shoe Ursula Dubosarsky , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2006 Z1253742 2006 single work novel young adult historical fiction (taught in 5 units) 'This is the story of Matilda and her two sisters growing up in Sydney in the 1950s at the time of the Petrov Affair. Punctuated by the headlines of the time it shows with unsettling clarity how the large events of the world can impinge on ordinary lives.' (Libraries Australia)
2005 winner y separately published work icon Secret Scribbled Notebooks Joanne Horniman , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2004 Z1141800 2004 single work novel young adult Kate has three notebooks, red, yellow and blue, in which she records her life. Through reading, writing, living and learning to love, she discovers things about herself that she never expected. (Source: Trove)
2004 winner y separately published work icon How to Make a Bird Martine Murray , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2003 Z1056588 2003 single work novel young adult

'I'm not a bad person. I've simply come out of left field. I'm a stray and, anyway, whatever I am, I'm not it yet. I'm still becoming. In fact, I'd always believed that I was once a horse, because I loved to run down a hill. And Eddie was a fish. He was a swaggerer, if you know what I mean. Flimsy but loveable.

'Mannie is searching for the thing she doesn't yet know, but it's like a runaway kite pulling her heart forward. So she's leaving home. She's heading for the city with nothing but a long red dress, a strong hunch, and an unknown address in her pocket. As the day turns to night, Mannie makes a lot of discoveries and not exactly the ones she planned to make.

'With rare sensitivity, wisdom and humour, and a voice that's entirely her own, Martine Murray tells a bittersweet story about longing and losing and finding again.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2003 winner y separately published work icon Boys of Blood and Bone David Metzenthen , Camberwell : Penguin , 2003 Z1042804 2003 single work novel young adult war literature historical fiction (taught in 6 units) Two parallel stories about two young men, separated by nearly nine decades in two different eras. As Andy and his mates head inexorably towards the bloody torturous Great War, Henry faces challenges, dangerous situations and tragedies of his own. (LA)
2002 winner y separately published work icon When Dogs Cry Markus Zusak , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2001 Z929602 2001 single work novel young adult

'Cameron Wolfe's life gets very complicated when he falls for his brother's girlfriend in this winning, wise novel from the dynamic author of FIGHTING RUBEN WOLFE. Cameron Wolfe is the quiet one in his family, not a soccer star like his brother Steve or a charming fighter with a new girl every week like his brother Rube. Cam would give anything to be near one of those girls, to love her and treat her right. He especially likes Rube's latest, Octavia, with her brilliant ideas and bright green eyes. But what woman like that would want a loser like him? Maybe Octavia would, Cam discovers. Maybe he'd even have something to say. And those maybes change everything: winning, loving, losing, the Wolfe brothers, and Cameron himself.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Push ed.).