Kim and Klavan_WastelandWelcome to the Wasteland. Where all the adults are long gone, and now no one lives past the age of nineteen. Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan’s post-apocalyptic debut is the first of a trilogy in which everyone is forced to live under the looming threat of rampant disease and brutal attacks by the Variants —- hermaphroditic outcasts that live on the outskirts of Prin. Esther thinks there’s more to life than toiling at harvesting, gleaning, and excavating, day after day under the relentless sun, just hoping to make it to the next day. But then Caleb, a mysterious stranger, arrives in town, and Esther begins to question who she can trust. As shady pasts unravel into the present and new romances develop, Caleb and Esther realize that they must team together to fight for their lives and for the freedom of Prin.

Hardcover, 328 pages

Published March 26th 2013 by HarperTeen


Set in a post-apocalyptic world where resources are scarce, rain is poison, and hermaphrodites are outcasts, Wasteland takes a different look at a future world in which humans do not survive past 19 years of age. They marry young and have children, then spend their days foraging and making contributions to The Source. The Source controls the food and utilities that they all need to survive, making them dependent upon it.

The variants are outcasts who attack the others, especially while they forage for The Source. Esther thinks there are better ways to live her life than working all the time; she has secretly made friends with Skar, a variant, and they spend most of their time shirking duties and exploring.

There are a variety of characters both outside and inside The Source that we get to know. Their society is on the brink of change—most likely for the worse—and everyone is searching for a way to live longer. There is not a whole lot of world building in Wasteland, but just enough to get the feel of this story. As the series continues, I hope to find out more about the events in the time before this book takes place.

When a mysterious stranger shows up, Esther is immediately curious about what he is looking for, and soon they join forces to fight for change. The pace of the story picks up once Caleb arrives, and the secret of what is really going on starts to be revealed.

What I loved about the story is that even though it covers ideas that are similar to those in books that I love, there are some unusual twists that make Wasteland unique. It gave me insight into how things could be different, especially with the hermaphrodite aspect. It doesn’t play a huge role in the first book, but I found it to be a very curious and unique aspect of the story, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

I recommend this book to lovers of survival stories and post-apocalyptic fiction.

alayna cole_TN Alayna says that they gobbled these mini bread cup quiches down within a few minutes of them being ready!             – Alayna Cole loves to write stories when she’s not studying for her Bachelor of Education/Bachelor of Arts.




bread cup mini quicheFilling:

  • 1 medium potato (peeled if preferred)
  • 1 large carrot (peeled if preferred)
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 rashers shortcut bacon
  • 3 cups mushrooms
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbls brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbls cream
  • 2 tbls water
  • 1/4 cup tasty cheese, grated
  • 12 slices bread
  • Vegetable oil for frying and greasing the pan

Bread cup mini quiche 1Preheat oven to 200°C.

Dice potato, carrot, onion, bacon, mushrooms and tomato. Fry in a small amount of oil with the garlic.

While this is cooking, remove the crusts from the bread. Rub a small amount of oil into each section of a muffin pan. Press the bread into each section, creating bread cups.

When filling is tender, add salt, pepper, paprika and brown sugar. Wait for the sugar to dissolve into caramel, then take off the heat. Spread filling evenly between each bread cup. Press down firmly to ensure it fits inside.

Whisk together eggs, cream and water in a bowl. Spread this mixture evenly between each bread cup. Take it slow. If it doesn’t all fit at first, wait a moment – the bread will absorb and suddenly you will have more space.

Sprinkle each cup with cheese.

Bake for 10-15min. Keep an eye on your quiches during those last few minutes because it doesn’t take long for bread to go from ‘I’ll just leave it a little longer’ to ‘whoops, I left it too long!’


wunder_museumLooking at the cover of The Museum of Intangible Things, you would assume right away that this book is perfect for the summer and that it completely revolves around friendship. And it does! But there is so much more going on in this book than the cover and the synopsis show.

The story follows two best friends, Hannah and Zoe. They couldn’t be any more different, but are still ultimate friends. While Hannah is sensible, trying to earn her college education through selling hot dogs, Zoe is spontaneous and wild.

Life is boring in their small hometown in New Jersey, and the two have always talked about going on a road trip together. But neither of them knew just what would happen on this seemingly harmless vacation: hiding and spending the night in IKEA, flashing cowboys on the highway, and wanting to see a real buffalo!

Hannah doesn’t expect what happens next, and she has no idea what to do…after all, Zoe is her best friend.

The Museum of Intangible Things was filled to the brim with emotions! When I picked this book up, I had no idea just what I was getting myself into. But Hannah and Zoe go through a true test of friendship.

Overall, I LOVED IT! But I don’t recommend reading it out in public with a full face of make-up on, unless you like looking like a raccoon with the mascara running down your cheeks. I would say to read this one at home!

Besides the two best friends, who I could really relate to, there was also a boy involved and a little romance. Going into this book, I was hoping for and even expecting some romance. But in the end I’m glad that this wasn’t the book’s main focus. I like that it truly revolved around these two girls!

The ending was heartbreaking, but OH SO GOOD! I recommend this book to anyone who needs a good cry.

Redlitzer 2014_Parris SmithFor the last few years, I’ve been part of the Redlands Redlitzer short story competitions. My role has been a judge and editor of stories written by children, young adults, and adults. Due to council budget cuts, the Redlands Libraries are only able to run the children’s section (and Bennett’s Real Estate have been kind enough to purchase the Trophies) this year.

On the weekend, I worked with three young people on their stories and was amazed at their talent and imagination. It’s an event that I love being involved in, and an initiative that I wholeheartedly support. I wish more libraries followed this model of story selection, story development, and production of an anthology.

Many thanks to the wonderful library staff, including Jo-Anne Kidman and Jan Webb, as well as my colleague’s Louise Cusack and Angela Sunde. Here’s a picture of me, Lou, and Angela, with one of the highly recommended young writers, Parris Smith.

Punkyfish had some items that really caught our eye, so we though we’d share them with you. We think the name is pretty cool too! It’s hard to go past anything with butterflies on it. You can also find them on Facebook.


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