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This guide will provide you with information and resources that will assist with your studies of English at each year level.
Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 URL: http://libguides.sje.vic.edu.au/english Print Guide RSS Updates

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Racism & Prejudice

Does My Head Look Big in This?


Randa Abdlel-Fattah

 Does My Head Look Big in This? features the plucky Amal Abdel-Hakim, a sixteen-year-old Palestinian-Australian who is trying her best to come to terms with what it means to be a Muslim teenager in Australia.


Bone By Bone


Tony Johnston

David's father is determined that his son will grow up to be a doctor like himself.  David studies the human bones, and secretly teaches them in turn to his black friend, Malcolm.  In a rage, Dr. Church forbids Malcolm to ever enter their home--and threatens to kill him if he does.  

The Book Thief


Marcus Zusak

Narrated by Death, The Book Thief is the story of Liesel Meminger, a nine-year-old German girl who is given up by her mother to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann in the small town of Molching in 1939, shortly before World War II. On their way to Molching, Liesel's younger brother Werner dies, and she is traumatized.

Bye, Beautiful


Julia Lawrinson

Sandy does not know if she would fit in anywhere, but she feels like a complete outsider in this hot, wheatbelt town where her policeman father has just been transferred.
And then she meets Billy, the part-Aboriginal mechanic's apprentice and town heart-throb.                   

Wonder

R J Palacio

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. 

 

Coming of Age

What happened to Goodbye?

Sarah Dessen

Since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move - four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, Mclean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself - whoever that is. 

After

Sue Lawson

What happens when you’re not the coolest kid in school anymore? CJ Alexander has been shipped off to the country to live with his grandparents, who he has never met. Here he tries to avoid his past, but no matter what he does, he can’t outrun the truth.

Being Here

Barry Jonsberg

A friendship blossoms when 16-year-old Carly interviews feisty 93-year-old Leah for her local history project and Leah shares her fascinating life's story-of a girl whose rich imagination rescues her from a grim reality, and an unlikely boy who changes everything

Hostage Three

 

Nick Lake

The last thing Amy planned to do this summer was sail around the world trapped on a yacht with her father and her stepmother. Really, all she wanted was to fast-forward to October when she’ll turn
eighteen and take control of her own life.
Aboard the Daisy May, Amy spends time sunbathing, dolphin watching and forgetting the past as everything floats by . . . until one day in the Gulf of Aden another boat appears. A boat with guns and pirates – the kind that kill.

Chasing Charlie Duskin

Cath Crowley

Charlie Duskin is running. Fleeing from failures and memories of friends who have given up on her. And she’s not only running, she’s chasing things – like a father who will talk to her, friends who don’t think she’s invisible.

But Charlie Duskin is about to have the best summer of her life. She’s about to meet a friend who’ll change her forever. She’s about to fall in love. She just doesn’t know it yet.

 

A life in Turmoil

The Ink Bridge


Neil Grant

Each step becomes a heartbeat and I feel the distance between Omed and me closing. I remember when I first met him - when he had showed me what bravery meant. How he had stood up for what he believed. In the end that had been his undoing. The Ink Bridge is the compelling story of two young men: Omed, an Afghani refugee who flees the Taliban and undertakes a perilous journey to seek asylum in Australia; and Hector, an Australian boy afflicted by grief, who has given up on school and retreated into silence. Their paths meet at a candle factory where they both find work. But secrets fester behind the monotonous routine: secrets with terrible consequences.

Between Shades of Grey


Ruta Sepetys

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

The Shadow Girl


John Larkin

Inspired by true events, a story of courage, survival, and a young girl who defies horrible odds to take control of her destiny.
The unnamed narrator escapes the dangerous imploding world of her parents and wider family in order to survive. Not wishing to be chewed up and spat out by the red light district she hides out in her local church, spends her weekends in the sand dunes on a Central Coast beach, and—with the help of her aunt's credit card—has the occasional stay in a five-star hotel. Most of her time on the run, though, she spends on the trains—generally sleeping in the shunting yards. When the trains become too dangerous she manages to find a derelict house in a leafy suburb and moves in with the possums and resident ghosts, ready to prove once and for all that she can take care of herself

Tigerfish

David Metzenthen

Better in here, they think. Safe and sound. No shocks and no surprises. Twenty-one degrees Celsius all year round.
Ryan Lanyon lives in the shadows of a shopping centre on the far side of the city. His brother is a bouncer. His best mate owns weapons. Ariel works in a surf-shop and has never seen the sea. And the tragedies of the past will poison the future – unless someone has the guts to cross the line.

On Two Feet and Wings


Abbas Kazerooni

He is in a foreign city, he is alone, and he is just a boy...
Close to his tenth birthday, Abbas has to leave his parents and friends, and flee Tehran. The Iran-Iraq war is at its bloodiest. The Ayatollahs, the rulers in Iran, have reduced the age of recruitment into the army. And if Abbas doesn’t leave soon, he will have to go to war.
In the strange and often frightening city of Istanbul, Abbas has to grow up faster than ever. He has to learn difficult things – how to live on his own, how to make his way around, and most importantly, how to judge who is a friend and who an enemy.
Living alone for fifteen weeks in a run-down hotel, Abbas finds a friend in Mourat, the owner, while he waits to get his dream-visa to England. Meanwhile, he has to deal with his new life and work at several jobs to make ends meet. Most of all, he has to guard against being manipulated, and watch his back at all times.
This is young Abbas’s remarkable story of innocence and wisdom, and survival against the worst odds. Like all stories, this one is often happy and sometimes sad. But unlike most others, this one is true.

How I Live Now


Meg Rosoff

“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.
As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.
A riveting and astonishing story
 

Family and Friendship

Butterfly

Sonya Hartnett

Plum Coyle exists in a semi-permanent state of agony. Her body is awkward, stuck between childhood and womanhood, mirroring the frenzied state within: “a witch-brew of frustration and self-hate”. Her always tentative place in the schoolyard hierarchy is slipping, despite the canny advice of her glamorous housewife neighbour Maureen, who Plum consults as her oracle.

Lost Property


James Moloney

From the outside, Josh's life looks pretty much perfect. He's in a band, he has a gorgeous girlfriend and he does well at school. But Josh's family has been slowly falling apart since his older brother disappeared two years before.

Finding Darcy


Sue Lawson

When Darcy Abbott's ‘Studies of Society and the Environment' class is given an oral history assignment on World War 2, she knows she has a problem. Nobody in her family ever talks about the war. Ever. It's forbidden.

Facing failure on her project, Darcy starts secretly researching the great-grandfather for whom she was named, determined to understand the anger, grief and trauma that has tainted three generations of women in her family.

Pan's Whisperer

Sue Lawson

Pan Harris is brash, loud and damaged. Ordered into foster care, Pan is full of anger at the mother who abandoned her, and the older sister who kept her from her father. Pan is certain that she knows the reality of her past – until she meets Hunter, the boy who understands her story better than anyone else, and who just may be the key to unlocking the truth of Pan’s memories. But are some memories best left forgotten? And is Hunter worth Pan breaking her most important rule – Never. Trust. Anyone

Happy as Larry

Scot Gardner

This is the story of the Rainbows, an ordinary suburban family who, nevertheless, areextraordinary in their quiet way. The novel spans almost two decades of Mal, Denise andLarry's lives, their personal losses and triumphs, played out against a backdrop of an ever-changing and complex world.

 

Live Tall, Live Strong

Whisper

Chrissie Keighery

How do you know if your friends are talking about you behind your back or if a boy likes you? They could act innocent, but you'd know from the rumours. You'd hear the whispers. But what if you couldn't hear those whispers anymore? What if everything you took for granted was gone? Being a teenager is hard enough.
But being a deaf teenager?

Soul Surfer

Bethany Hamilton

They say Bethany Hamilton has salt water in her veins. How else could one explain the passion that drives her to surf? Or that nothing—not even the loss of her arm—could come between her and the waves? 

Bethany Hamilton tells the moving story of her triumphant return to competitive surfing, which continues to inspire all who hear it. 

The Fault in our Stars

John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Butterflies

Susanne Gervay

Katherine is almost eighteen. Severely burned when she was three, she dreams that one day, she will look like everyone else. An extraordinary story where trauma and pain become triumph and a passion for living.

The Accident


Kate Hendrick

A rainy night. 

A car crash.

After the accident Sarah moves to a new school. A new place where no one knows what happened to her or her brother—where she doesn't have to deal with the history that's pulling the rest of her family apart. 
Will is keeping his head down at home, just trying to get by. Then his sister Lauren comes back—as caustic as always but somehow changed. Will doesn't know what upheaval brought her home. But it's sparking some serious change in his life too.
Eliat's got no mother of her own, and she's way too young to be one. Looking after a two-year-old, trying to finish school—sometimes all that keeps her sane is partying as hard and fast as she can. Now the pressure's building and Eliat just wants to get away.
Just get into a car and drive.

 

Power

Noughts and Crosses

Malorie Blackman

Two young people are forced to make a stand in this thought-provoking look at racism and prejudice in an alternate society.
Sephy is a Cross -- a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought -- a “colourless” member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood, but that’s as far as it can go. In their world, Noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix.Can they possibly find a way to be together?

Divergent


Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

 

Faking Sweet

J C Burke

Holly might be new, but she already knows who to watch out for: Jess Flynn, the most popular girl in the freshman class. Holly's best friend back in Melbourne, Calypso, says Jess is a liar, a shoplifter, and a boyfriend stealer. Calypso wants revenge for her ex-friend's betrayal, and Holly's only too happy to oblige. 

 

Zac & Mia


A.J.Betts

The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note—then a friendship neither of them sees coming.
You need courage to be in hospital; different courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other, always

Mao's Last Dancer

Li Cunxin

From a desperately poor village in northeast China, at age eleven, Li Cunxin was chosen by Madame Mao's cultural delegates to be taken from his rural home and brought to Beijing, where he would study ballet. In 1979, the young dancer arrived in Texas as part of a cultural exchange, only to fall in love with America-and with an American woman. 

 

To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird

Harper Lee

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view .. until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

Tomboy Scout Finch comes of age in a small Alabama town during a crisis in 1935. She admires her father Atticus, how he deals with issues of racism, injustice, intolerance and bigotry, his courage and his love.

To Kill A Mockingbird

Harper Lee

 

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