Mel and Shell
Okay, I know I’m not exactly the target audience for Julia Lawrinson’s tween/YA novel Mel and Shell, but I’m a longtime fan of Julia’s voice and find it hard to go past anything she writes. And this is a novel that I suspect is going to find many, many readers who read for the sheer pleasure of nostalgia, although it’s likely to be leavened with the acerbic aftertaste of hindsight. If you grew up in the days of ABBA and Countdown, if you ate Chico Rolls and played Space Invaders, if you remember the distinctly whitebread version of history favoured in Western Australia’s sesquicentenary celebrations of 1979, I think you’ll enjoy Mel and Shell as much as I did, while appreciating its subtle critique of that time.
It’s 1979. Swedish pop group ABBA rules the airwaves, roller skating is cool, and Mel and Shell are best friends. There’s nothing they like more than making up dances to ABBA songs, and there’s nothing they like less than Scary Sharon and Stinky Simon. But things are changing, fast. Confiding in her pen pal from 1829, Shell discovers she has a lot to learn about loyalty, honesty and roller skating.
I’m intrigued by the premise of Sara Foster’s new title, The Hush, and I think there will be a few copies under my Christmas tree this year. Sara is well-known as a bestselling author of psychological thrillers, and this time she ventures into a dystopian near-future world that sounds frighteningly familiar with our present. I’ve been hearing a lot about The Hush and am looking forward to reading it.
Lainey’s friend Ellis is missing. And she’s not the only one.
In the six months since the first case of a terrifying new epidemic—when a healthy baby wouldn’t take a breath at birth—the country has been thrown into turmoil. The government has passed sweeping new laws to monitor all citizens. And several young pregnant women have vanished without trace.
As a midwife, Lainey’s mum Emma is determined to be there for those who need her. But when seventeen-year-old Lainey finds herself in trouble, this dangerous new world becomes very real. The one person who might help is Emma’s estranged mother, but reaching out to her will put them all in jeopardy…
The Hush is a new breed of near-future thriller, an unflinching look at a society close to tipping point and a story for our times, highlighting the power of female friendship through a dynamic group of women determined to triumph against the odds.