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  • Writer's pictureJulianne Negri

Best Reads of 2018

Updated: Jan 3, 2019

Is it just me? Or perhaps you do this too.

I mark a book as *read* on Goodreads and then ping! I get an email notification and I think Ooh I’ve got an email …without realising it is the Goodreads email to say I’ve finished a book.

I do this every time.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Which is something Einstein never said but everyone says he did.

Well I’ve read over a hundred books again this year which means I have fooled by the Goodreads email over a hundred times. Just let that sink in. More than one hundred times.

So if you don’t think me a great fool and are still keen to read on, here are my favourites from 2018.

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead.

Memorable early teen book about three friends, Bridge, Tab and Emily, navigating change while promising to remain friends. But is that possible when there are boys, new feelings and temptations? Then there is Sherm Russo, writing letters to his estranged Grandfather and another voice written in second person present tense, on Valentines Day. Stead effortlessly plays with time and voice to create compelling storytelling that entwines everyone’s stories and leads to this day.

The depth is in the gorgeous details throughout, characters both complex and believable and the situations tender and true. Highly Recommended for 11 years plus and for anyone who has ever had friends.

Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee

This is a heartbreaking story told by Lenny about her and her brother Davey, who won’t stop growing. They live with their single mother Cynthia Spinks, their father gone, and the highlight of their week is the arrival in the post of the build-your-own-encyclopaedia instalment, leading them through the alphabet of knowledge and the reader through the years. This book has so much – characters like Lenny’s school friend CJ, a girl in a big family who plays drums and Mrs Gaspar, an elderly neighbour with large orange beehive who babysits and tells the children her dreams. The story twists like Lenny’s hearts with subplots, events, learning and Davey, who, Holy Batman, just keeps growing. Yes, you will need tissues. But it’s so, so, good.

The Endsister by Penni Russon

When the Outhwaite family inherit a house in London they leave the comforts of their rural Australian home in Bunjil Country and try and settle in the new house, full of shadows and resident ghosts Almost Annie and Hardly Alice. The book explores how it affects each of the family - teen violinist Elise, nature loving Clancy, the twins Oscar and Finn, and little Sibbi only five – who is strangely misbehaving and growing pale and thin. The book shows how interconnected a family is and reliant on each other. Especially when faced with ghosts in the attic. This book is about how families are connected and I love that the story contained many perspectives, lyrical writing and terrific plot.

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas

I am a huge fan of Michelle Cuevas – her writing is original and funny and full of truth. This book is whacky. In 1977, eleven year old Stella goes to NASA to request her recording is included on the Voyager spacecraft and a black hole follows her home. Naturally, she decides to keep it as a pet! It comes in handy, swallowing stuff Stella wants to get rid of, including ugly jumpers knitted by her aunt and reminders of her father who has died. But when it swallows her brother Cosmo? And the new puppy? Well then Stella has no choice but to go into the black hole and rescue them. And face all she has thrown away. A brilliant mix of adventure, fun and healing a grief stricken heart.

Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans

Another book that is an allegory for grief healing while under the guise of a whacky adventure. Wed Wabbit is hilarious.

Fidge’s little sister Minnie carries a stuffed rabbit everywhere with her and is obsessed with a television show with the Wibblywoos. When Fidge throws the rabbit into the traffic and her sister runs after it she is hit by a car. While Minnie recovers in hospital, Fidge is sent to stay with her aunt and uncle and pathetically hyperchondriac and over parented cousin Graham. When they fall into the basement they find a topsy-turvy magical world where Wed Wabbit rules and the Wimblywoos are at war and the only way to get out is to solve the problems they all have. It is ridiculously funny.

And a special mention to Penny Pollard Series by Robin Klein. They are absolute Australian classics. I laughed myself silly.

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