Take Three Girls (with Cath Crowley and Fiona Wood) - Pan Macmillan AUS, (2017) - Sterling US (2021)

This raw and funny novel is the much-anticipated collaboration between three beloved Australian YA authors: Cath Crowley, Fiona Wood and Simmone Howell. The story follows three girls as they struggle to claim their own identities amid high school politics, romantic feelings and looming decisions about The Future. When they are grouped together for a wellness class at their elite high school, these outwardly different girls discover they have more in common than appears and form a meaningful bond.

Quiet, sensible Kate is tempted to throw her life plan out the window in order to pursue a career making experimental music. Passionate, fiery Clem feels consumed by her swim-team persona and longs for romance. And cool, cashed-up Ady wants to be more creative than her A-level status and current group of friends allow. I enjoyed how distinct these three voices were: we moved between their stories and perspectives. Readers who love books that feature a cast of characters and focus on female friendship – such as Jaclyn Moriarty’s Finding Cassie Crazy or Siobhan Curham’s The Moonlight Dreamers – will find much to love here.

Crowley, Wood and Howell have created an utterly authentic high school in St. Hilda’s, from the coded language used by the students, to the ways that invisible social structures impose on their interactions with one another. The three narrators are also linked in part due to the existence of a website that shares gossip, true and not, about the students at a select group of private schools – including St. Hilda’s. Each of our three girls is targeted by PSST (or Private Schools Secrets Tracker) in turn, and eventually they unite to bring it down. That this disgusting website feels so true-to-life is both a credit to the authors, and deeply depressing. Seeing Kate, Clem and Ady work to destroy it was a true joy. (Bronte Coates)

Winner - CBCA Book of the Year for older readers 2018
Selected for White Ravens International Youth Library Catalogue
Shortlisted - 2018 Gold Inky Award
Shortlisted - 2018 Indie Book Awards
Longlisted - 2018 ABIA Awards

GIRL DEFECTIVE Pan Macmillan AUS 2013, Simon & Schuster US 2014

Skylark Martin lives above her family’s vintage vinyl shop that—like its merchandise—is an endangered species in their re-gentrified, forward-looking Melbourne suburb.

In the five years since Mum left to “follow her art” in Japan, Dad’s kept the shop going, drinking homebrew and mourning the past (musical and otherwise). Sky, 15, and Gully, 10, aka Agent Seagull Martin, who wears a pig-snout mask 24/7 and views the world as a crime scene waiting to be investigated, hold down the fort. Sky harbors no illusions about their dreary status quo—Dad’s drinking, Gully’s issues, her own social stasis—but she does have dreams, recently ignited by a new friend, the beautiful, wild and fearless Nancy. Other agents of change include Eve, Dad’s old flame, and Luke, the shop’s attractive, moody new hire. Drawn, mothlike, to Nancy’s flame, Sky’s dreams are haunted by Luke’s sister, whose similarly wild lifestyle led to tragedy. The family business grounds Sky. Its used records and cassettes, like time capsules, store music that evokes the past’s rich emotional complexity for the Martins and their quirky customers, while the eternal present and frantic quest for the next big thing hold no appeal. 

Funny, observant, a relentless critic of the world’s (and her own) flaws, Sky is original, thoroughly authentic and great company, decorating her astute, irreverent commentary with vivid Aussie references; chasing these down should provide foreign readers with hours of online fun. (Fiction. 14 & up) (Kirkus)

Finalist - 2014 Prime Minister's Award for YA fiction
Shortlisted - 2014 Davitt Awards for female crime writing
Shortlisted - 2014 Gold Inky Award


Belief and scepticism of all sorts are at play in Simmone Howell’s warm and edgy coming-of-age novel Everything Beautiful. At times outrageous, always funny, and emotionally involving, it is a great young adult read, perfect (I assume having never been one) for teen girls everywhere. There is plenty of outlandish, risqué behaviour – including foul language, sex, drugs, and all sorts of rebellion – yet this is encapsulated within a plot that is trustworthy and empowering, that promotes self-worth and respect for others above all else. Reading Everything Beautiful is a little chance to walk on the wild side without ever having to leave the safety of your own bed. (Vulpes Libres) 

Finalist - 2009 Melbourne Prize for Best Writing
Shortlisted - 2009 Gold Inky Award
Highly Commended - 2009 Victorian Premier's Award for YA Fiction


This remarkable novel manages to be countercultural and rebellious, yet rock solid as well. Three school girls set out to create an ‘underground happening’ to divert impending holiday boredom. They are ‘cool’ and edgy and the tension between creative and destructive interpretations of ‘underground’ and the resultant changes in friendships and priorities is explored with wit and insight. One of my picks of the year.

Kathy Kozlowski is from Readings Carlton.

Winner - 2007 Victorian Premier's Prize for YA Fiction
Winner - 2007 Gold Inky Award
2007 CBCA Notable Book



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