The best YA books set in Australia

Who am I?

I am an Australian author and an avid reader. Although I love reading books set in other countries, I particularly enjoy stories that take place in Australia, as I can really identify with them. I especially relate to those set in the Australian outback or small rural towns, as for several years I lived in remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. I understand how in small towns it is very difficult to keep secrets, as everybody knows everyone else’s business, and I now realise this is becoming an underlying theme in my writing. I have a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Tasmania.

I wrote...

Jilda's Ark

By Verity Croker,

Book cover of Jilda's Ark

What is my book about?

A sixteenth birthday celebration cruise for twins Jilda and Rosa quickly becomes a nightmare. While her family enjoys an excursion on a Fijian island, Jilda, who is unwell and remains onboard, finds their ship has sailed off, leaving most of its passengers stranded on shore.

An unknown group has overtaken the ship. After a few days, they collect thousands of new passengers from a distant archipelago, making conditions onboard overcrowded and uncomfortable. Nobody knows where they’re headed, so the mood on the ship rapidly deteriorates. Though Jilda is desperate to reunite with her family, she meets someone who comforts her and completely changes her world. But how will her new friend Jade feel when she learns Jilda has a boyfriend back home in Australia?

The books I picked & why

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The Boy from the Mish

By Gary Lonesborough,

Book cover of The Boy from the Mish

Why this book?

I love the novel The Boy from the Mish as it gives insight into how 17-year-old Jackson digs deep to find the courage to acknowledge and explore his sexuality in a small rural Australian indigenous community. It is written in a fresh and engaging way, making the reader empathise strongly with the main character.


By Shivaun Plozza,

Book cover of Frankie

Why this book?

I really loved reading Frankie. The feisty main character, Frankie, meets Xavier, who claims to be her half-brother. When he goes missing in Melbourne, she is determined to find him, and you really feel you are there with her in her quest. It is a poignant and touching story, and the climax leaves your emotions reeling. You’ll want to read more from this author.

Metal Fish, Falling Snow

By Cath Moore,

Book cover of Metal Fish, Falling Snow

Why this book?

Metal Fish, Falling Snow is a terrific Australian road trip story, with a gorgeous cover. After Dylan’s mother suddenly dies, her mother’s boyfriend Pat drives her across the country to join her absent father’s family. During the trip, while experiencing the wilds of outback Australia first hand, Dylan gets to know Pat better. The novel deals with grief and evolving relationships, and is a very satisfying read.

Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories

By Michael Earp (editor),

Book cover of Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories

Why this book?

I really enjoyed reading all the #OwnVoice short stories, several of which have intersectional representation, in Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories. The twelve authors demonstrate a wide range of writing styles, writing about different themes in a variety of genres from medieval to contemporary to dystopian. It’s a book you can return to again and again, choosing different stories to read depending on your mood and interests. 

Begin, End, Begin: A #Loveozya Anthology

By Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Michael Pryor, Lili Wilkinson

Book cover of Begin, End, Begin: A #Loveozya Anthology

Why this book?

Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology is a great collection of short stories, written in a cross-section of genres, on different themes, by a variety of Australian authors. Reading these stories gives you a taste of the authors’ writing styles, and, as many of them also write novels, you can choose which authors’ works you’d like to read more of.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Australia, life satisfaction, and death?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Australia, life satisfaction, and death.

Australia Explore 178 books about Australia
Life Satisfaction Explore 120 books about life satisfaction
Death Explore 203 books about death

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Fourteen, Holding the Man, and Invisible Boys if you like this list.