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  • Writer's pictureSandy

YA novels set during Schoolies Week

Before the Beginning by Anna Morgan is a beautifully written story full of mystery and suspense. Four friends have gone on a trip to celebrate the end of Year 12 during Schoolies Week. While everyone else is partying in the traditional way, the four friends meet the charmingly elusive Sierra on their first night away, who convinces them to come camping with her on a forbidden island.

Friendships are frayed, secrets are revealed, and new connections are made on this uninhabited island - but meanwhile it slowly becomes clear that Sierra might have a hidden agenda for the group of friends. The writing is lyrical and unique and the island setting so evocatively portrayed. I also loved the mythology woven throughout the narrative, like sparkling threads - adding additional layers of mystery and suspense to the story. You won't want to put this one down.

Can't Say It Went to Plan by Gabrielle Tozer is told from the shifting perspectives of three different girls, who have headed off to Schoolies Week to party with friends. This story is told with heart and humour, as the girls navigate different challenges against the colourful and fast-paced backdrop of Schoolies Week. I felt like I was right there with them, experiencing the heady rush of making new friends and trying new things.

But against this sparkling backdrop of endless partying, the girls also navigate heartache, anxiety and grief. The tender little moments between friends add so much heart and depth to the narrative. I adored all the characters and enjoyed experiencing all the highs and lows of their week at schoolies. I also love the way the stories of the three girls somehow become interconnected - as they all come to realise the value of true friendship and forge stronger connections with both friends and family.

Highly recommend adding both these books to your summer reading list!

Before the beginning by Anna Morgan is published by Hachette Kids

Can't Say It Went to Plan by Gabrielle Tozer is published Harper Collins



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