I love that the title rhymes. It’s half the reason I chose it, the other half is because I like colours and what’s more colourful than pride? Work it sister, I’m loving how you look. There’s nothing better than a hella nice rainbow.
1: Red (Life): a book with a spirited protagonist totally proud of who they are. Someone who gives you LIFE!
CATCHING TELLER CROW – Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina
What a cracker of a novel. This entire book, although very different from the standard novel, wraps tightly around the aboriginal culture and why it’s great to be proud. It also captures the unfair racial issues attached with the culture, but Beth Teller is so damn proud of her culture and herself that it’s hard not to enjoy this #LoveOzYA novel.
Goodreads description: Nothing’s been the same for Beth Teller since she died. Her dad, a detective, is the only one who can see and hear her – and he’s drowning in grief. But now they have a mystery to solve together. Who is Isobel Catching, and what’s her connection to the fire that killed a man? What happened to the people who haven’t been seen since the fire? As Beth unravels the mystery, she finds a shocking story lurking beneath the surface of a small town, and a friendship that lasts beyond one life and into another.
Told in two unforgettable voices, this gripping novel weaves together themes of grief, colonial history, violence, love and family.
2: Orange (Healing): a book that made you, as the reader, find a deeper meaning or catharsis in your own life.
SPEAK – Laurie Halse Anderson
This is one of those really incredible novels that sticks with you forever. Filled with such a deep level of emotion and rough understanding, this book broke my heart. It made me hyperaware of those unfortunate people out there that had to endure sexual abuse (or any abuse) and can’t find it in themselves to speak up. This could be because they think that they’re the one to blame, or that the attacker could kill them for it. It made me pissed and protective all at the same time, that we need to stand up and have a voice for those that may not be able to.
Goodreads description: The first ten lies they tell you in high school.
“Speak up for yourself—we want to know what you have to say.”
From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication.
In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.
Speak was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature.
3: Yellow (Sunshine): a book that fills you with so much joy it could brighten even your darkest day.
FANGIRL – Rainbow Rowell
I HAD to go with a classic. HAD TO. I had no choice in the matter. Fangirl won over my heart many years ago when I fell into a two-year reading slump. It made me laugh and cry and laugh some more. It came at the perfect time in my life, and the idea of being able to read it again and again only fills me with joy.
Goodreads description: Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan..
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
4: Green (Nature): a book that is set out of this world—a reality different to our own.
WHISPER – Lynette Noni
I’ve recently read Whisper, and it was sooooo good. I mean, I guess the reality isn’t too different from our own. I mean, if I was in the book, I wouldn’t be any wiser to what’s happening, but it still is different. Just like Harry Potter’s different! Such an incredible read, I’m trying to insist that everyone gives it a go.
“Lengard is a secret government facility for extraordinary people,” they told me.
I believed them. That was my mistake.
There isn’t anyone else in the world like me.
I’m different. I’m an anomaly. I’m a monster.
For two years, six months, fourteen days, eleven hours and sixteen minutes, Subject Six-Eight-Four — ‘Jane Doe’ — has been locked away and experimented on, without uttering a single word.
As Jane’s resolve begins to crack under the influence of her new — and unexpectedly kind — evaluator, she uncovers the truth about Lengard’s mysterious ‘program’, discovering that her own secret is at the heart of a sinister plot … and one wrong move, one wrong word, could change the world.
5: Blue (Peace): a book where one of the characters finds peace with a difficult truth.
LILY’S JUST FINE – Gill Stewart
I can’t dive into why I’ve chosen this book for this answer, but I really enjoyed this novel and I think it’s a good pick for Peace.
Goodreads description: Lily couldn’t have planned life better herself. She lives in the best house in town and she’s dating the most popular boy in school. Everything else she can fix. Mum’s apathy? On it! The stuffy gala committee? Watch this space!
Tom has enough on his plate without trying to drag Newton St Cuthbert into the 21st Century. His sister is sick and there’s nothing anyone can do. Not doctors, not his parents, and certainly not Lily Hildebrand.
Sail away this summer with the unexpected romance of Scotland’s most determined teenager.
6: Purple (Spirit): a book that deals with LGBT+ themes and religion.
THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST – Emily M. Danforth
With a slow start, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this one, but I was wrong. So, SO wrong. This book is one of the most important, if not the most important book I’ve read this year. Set in the 90’s, this novel captures the hardship of being gay when everyone not only thought it was a sin, but also a disease. As if being attracted to the opposite sex made them so different from everyone else. Definitely a YA classic.
Goodreads description: When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.
But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.
Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship–one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self–even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules.