100 books like Wolfe Island

By Lucy Treloar,

Here are 100 books that Wolfe Island fans have personally recommended if you like Wolfe Island. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Dyschronia

Jane Rawson Author Of From the Wreck

From my list on Australian novels for nature and climate.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing about climate change for the past 14 years. I have been the Environment and Energy Editor for the news website, The Conversation, and worked for the government in renewable energy and reducing emissions from transport. Now I work for a conservation organisation, protecting land for nature. My first novel, A wrong turn at the Office of Unmade Lists, was set in a climate-changed Melbourne and an idyllic past San Francisco. My most recent novel, From the Wreck, is historical fiction set in the 1870s but is also about modern humans’ history of ecocide. I have also written essays and a non-fiction guide The Handbook: Surviving & Living with Climate Change

Jane's book list on Australian novels for nature and climate

Jane Rawson Why did Jane love this book?

Dyschronia is strange, complicated, overwhelming, frightening, and occasionally enervating – just like climate change. Jen Mills tells the story of a young woman in a small, dying town who can’t stop seeing horrible futures; or, perhaps, the story of a young woman who compulsively lies. You won’t forget the compelling and sickening scene of a town waking up to find the ocean has disappeared. This one is worth wrapping your brain around.

By Jennifer Mills,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dyschronia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE MILES FRANKLIN LITERARY AWARD 2019

"There is a poetry in Mills's writing that shimmers like desert air - and in her storytelling, in the way she captures the moods of time, there is something mystical. Daring, original and ambitious." The Australian

An electrifying novel about an oracle. A small town. And the end of the world as we know it...

One morning, the residents of a small coastal town somewhere in Australia wake to discover the sea has disappeared. One among them has been plagued by troubling visions of this cataclysm for years. Is she a prophet?…


Book cover of The Animals in That Country

Sophie Overett Author Of The Rabbits

From my list on strange and unusual families.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in the sub-tropics of Brisbane, there was a magic in the heat. It was one that spoke to me from a really young age, and I’d daydream about finding portals to secret worlds in the stutter of a sprinkler’s spray, or the ooze of a monster in mid-afternoon sweat. There was no way I couldn’t find a story in the oppressive swelter of year-round summers, and in my head, I’d cast roles for my family and my friends. Over the years, that bred into a love of writing and reading stories about strange families finding their own sorts of magic with each other and their environments, and the ways that little taste of the uncanny can reveal and conceal in equal measure. 

Sophie's book list on strange and unusual families

Sophie Overett Why did Sophie love this book?

There’s a lot of pandemic fiction, but rarely are they as creative and thrilling as this. The zooflu that rips through Australia allows people to talk to animals while they’re sick, and when it inches towards the family-run zoo at the heart of this novel, tensions rise and bonds are tested, especially between addict Jean, her granddaughter Kimberley, and prodigal son, Lee. 

By Laura Jean McKay,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Animals in That Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD

A SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR

Out on the road, no one speaks, everything talks.

Hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, and allergic to bullshit, Jean is not your usual grandma. She's never been good at getting on with other humans, apart from her beloved granddaughter, Kimberly. Instead, she surrounds herself with animals, working as a guide in an outback wildlife park. And although Jean talks to all her charges, she has a particular soft spot for a young dingo called Sue.

As disturbing news arrives of a pandemic sweeping the country, Jean realises this is…


Book cover of Flames

Danielle Clode Author Of Killers In Eden: The True Story of Killer Whales and their Remarkable Partnership with the Whalers of Twofold Bay

From my list on Australian animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always had a passion for animals since I was nine years old and wrote my first ‘book’ on animals for a school library competition. I went on to study animal behavior at university and complete a doctorate in conservation biology and seabirds in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. I’ve worked in zoos and museums, written twelve books on animals as various as killer whales and koalas, extinct megafauna, and marine reptiles. Learning more about the natural world, the people who study it, and the importance of protecting it, has been the driving force behind all of my books and a joy to share with readers. 

Danielle's book list on Australian animals

Danielle Clode Why did Danielle love this book?

This genre-busting debut novel by Tasmanian writer Robbie Arnott defies all attempts to describe or classify it. The writing is vibrant and beautiful. It’s a book that fills your lungs with a blast of fresh air, the scents of the cool southern rainforests and dazzles you with clouds and sun and rain and fire. It seamlessly blends realism with a spirit world, binding the human to the animal in an evocatively magical and disturbing story that brings Australian nature and animals into focus in an entirely new literary landscape. I defy anyone to read this book and not fall in love with the Rakali and weep a little the next time it rains. Quite the most remarkable book I’ve read.

By Robbie Arnott,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Flames as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A strange and joyous marvel" Richard Flanagan

Robbie Arnott's mad, wild debut novel is rough-hewn from the Tasmanian landscape and imbued with the folkloric magic of the oldest fireside storytellers.

A young man named Levi McAllister decides to build a coffin for his twenty-three-year-old sister, Charlotte-who promptly runs for her life. A water rat swims upriver in quest of the cloud god. A fisherman named Karl hunts for tuna in partnership with a seal. And a father takes form from fire.

The answers to these riddles are to be found in this tale of grief and love and the bonds…


Book cover of Echolalia

Jane Rawson Author Of From the Wreck

From my list on Australian novels for nature and climate.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing about climate change for the past 14 years. I have been the Environment and Energy Editor for the news website, The Conversation, and worked for the government in renewable energy and reducing emissions from transport. Now I work for a conservation organisation, protecting land for nature. My first novel, A wrong turn at the Office of Unmade Lists, was set in a climate-changed Melbourne and an idyllic past San Francisco. My most recent novel, From the Wreck, is historical fiction set in the 1870s but is also about modern humans’ history of ecocide. I have also written essays and a non-fiction guide The Handbook: Surviving & Living with Climate Change

Jane's book list on Australian novels for nature and climate

Jane Rawson Why did Jane love this book?

Doyle’s first novel, The Island Will Sink, was a wild ride into a technology-obsessed, nature-depleted future society. Echolalia is situated firmly in present-day, suburban Australia and unlike most climate change novels it recognises that environmental crisis is part of a deeper web: the novel looks at how class, money, and white dispossession of Australia’s first nations people all complicate the way we deal with heat, drought and a frightening future. A compelling portrait of a woman falling to pieces.

By Briohny Doyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Echolalia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What could drive a mother to do the unthinkable?

Before: Emma Cormac married into a perfect life but now she's barely coping. Inside a brand new, palatial home, her three young children need more than she can give. Clem, a wilful four year old, is intent on mimicking her grandmother; the formidable matriarch Pat Cormac. Arthur is almost three and still won't speak. At least baby Robbie is perfect. He's the future of the family. So why can't Emma hold him without wanting to scream?
Beyond their gleaming windows, a lake vista is evaporating. The birds have mostly disappeared, too.…


Book cover of Dead Wind

Marcy McCreary Author Of The Disappearance of Trudy Solomon

From my list on memorable female detectives/investigators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the author of two police procedural mysteries, a series that features a father/daughter detective team. I write in the traditional mystery genre for the simple reason that I'm a passionate reader of this genre, and always have been. I enjoy the structure of a whodunnit—the pacing, red herrings, clues, plot twists, reveals—and love constructing a multi-layered mystery that is both engaging and suspenseful. I’m a big fan of the masters of this genre: Agatha Christie, PD James, Dick Francis, and Val McDermid. I’m also an avid watcher of police procedural television series, and I’m especially drawn to the darker investigative stories you find in programs like The Killing, Mare of Easttown, and The Wire.

Marcy's book list on memorable female detectives/investigators

Marcy McCreary Why did Marcy love this book?

Dead Wind is the third book in Tessa Wegert’s Shana Merchant series, and it’s where I made my entry into the series. It works as a standalone, but I have every intention of going back to books 1 and 2 to fill in the backstory. In this installment, Detective Merchant is getting her sea legs back after a harrowing experience with a serial killer, while trying to solve the murder of a local woman, and sorting out her romantic feelings with her partner. Her complicated life provides another layer to the suspense and makes her an extremely relatable and likable character. There’s a nice cat-and-mouse feel to this novel with a heart-racing denouement. 

By Tessa Wegert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dead Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Senior Investigator Shana Merchant must dredge up dark secrets and old grudges if she's to solve the murder of a prominent local citizen in the Thousand Islands community she now calls home.

"Wegert nicely balances plot and characterization. Fans of Denise Mina's Alex Morrow will be pleased" - Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"Louise Penny meets Ruth Ware in this small town mystery that bubbles with secrets and intrigue" - Charlie Donlea, internationally bestselling author of Twenty Years Later

"An atmospheric, sophisticated thriller with layers upon layers of secrets" - Sarah Stewart Taylor, author of the Maggie D'arcy mysteries

"A bone-chilling…


Book cover of Hive

Meg Caddy Author Of Slipping the Noose

From my list on YA with compelling female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been drawn to YA novels – big feelings conveyed across shorter word counts, intense experiences, other worlds, characters finding their way in the world. For a long time in these books and across a range of genres, women and girls could only hope to be on the sidelines of these big stories. They were the maiden in the tower, the prospective bride or love interest of the hero. We’re incredibly lucky to live in a time where a wide range of female experiences can be found in our YA books, and these are always stories I seek to read and to tell. 

Meg's book list on YA with compelling female protagonists

Meg Caddy Why did Meg love this book?

This amazing Australian YA weaves such a delicate web. A quiet, introverted dystopia, and at its heart is the wonderful Hayley. Hayley is such an interesting female protagonist here not because she is deadly or combative, but because of her incredible perseverance and curiosity. Hive is the first in a truly compelling duology. 

By A. J. Betts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 15, 16, and 17.


Book cover of This Is Shyness

Paula Weston Author Of The Undercurrent

From my list on YA set in Australia – but not quite as we know it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Australian and there’s a big place in my heart for Australian-set stories. I read mostly for escapism, but there’s a deeper connection with tales from my own backyard. I’ve also always loved speculative fiction – everything from epic and paranormal fantasy to space opera and dystopian thrillers – and I’m excited when my favourite genres and setting come together. My day job is in local government. I’ve seen how government decisions can impact the trajectory of a society, and I’m particularly drawn to stories that explore that theme. I’m the author of five speculative fiction novels with Australian settings: the four novels in The Rephaim series (supernatural fantasy) and The Undercurrent (slightly futuristic/pre-apocalyptic). 

Paula's book list on YA set in Australia – but not quite as we know it

Paula Weston Why did Paula love this book?

This is still one of the coolest books I’ve ever read. It has wonderfully left-of-centre characters, original plot, and world building, a hint of darkness, and sharp dialogue. I love its Australian flavour (just enough to feel familiar). The setting is also off-kilter enough to be dystopian, but not so much so that it feels alien.

Best of all, at the novel's heart is an engaging, offbeat romance. There are also well-handled themes of alienation, grief, identity, and self-discovery.

(It was part of a gift pack of novels my Australian publisher sent me when I signed my first book deal back in 2011, and I instantly fell in love with it.)

By Leanne Hall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Is Shyness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

A captivating novel told from the points of view of two unforgettable characters. In the suburb of Shyness, the sun doesn't rise. Wolfboy meets a stranger called Wildgirl, who dares him to be her guide through the endless night. There are things that can only be said in the dark.This is Shyness was shortlisted for a number of major Australian literary awards and named a Children's Book Council of Australia Notable Book.

Leanne Hall won the 2009 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing for this spellbinding debut for readers fourteen and up.


Book cover of The Road to Winter

Paula Weston Author Of The Undercurrent

From my list on YA set in Australia – but not quite as we know it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Australian and there’s a big place in my heart for Australian-set stories. I read mostly for escapism, but there’s a deeper connection with tales from my own backyard. I’ve also always loved speculative fiction – everything from epic and paranormal fantasy to space opera and dystopian thrillers – and I’m excited when my favourite genres and setting come together. My day job is in local government. I’ve seen how government decisions can impact the trajectory of a society, and I’m particularly drawn to stories that explore that theme. I’m the author of five speculative fiction novels with Australian settings: the four novels in The Rephaim series (supernatural fantasy) and The Undercurrent (slightly futuristic/pre-apocalyptic). 

Paula's book list on YA set in Australia – but not quite as we know it

Paula Weston Why did Paula love this book?

It’s a dystopian YA novel where the Australian landscape is beautifully rendered in all its glory and danger. It’s also a tightly written and intense page turner, when even quiet moments are infused with a sense of menace.

It has echoes of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, although this book is unmistakably Australian - right down to speculation around where our nation’s attitude to asylum seeks may lead us. It’s not as bleak as The Road (a book I admire), but Mark reminds us how easily our veneer of society could slip away in the wake of a catastrophic, world-changing event.

I did worry for Finn’s dog as much as for Finn himself. (I’m still scarred by The Knife of Never Letting Go. This has parallels to that nail-biting novel, too.)

By Mark Smith,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Road to Winter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since a deadly virus and the violence that followed wiped out his parents and most of his community, Finn has lived alone on the rugged coast with only his dog Rowdy for company.

He has stayed alive for two winters—hunting and fishing and trading food, and keeping out of sight of the Wilders, an armed and dangerous gang that controls the north, led by a ruthless man named Ramage.

But Finn’s isolation is shattered when a girl runs onto the beach. Rose is a Siley—an asylum seeker—and she has escaped from Ramage, who had enslaved her and her younger sister,…


Book cover of I Am Currency

Julie L. Casey Author Of Time Lost: Teenage Survivalist II

From my list on apocalyptic event that causes a dystopian future.

Why am I passionate about this?

I got interested in the theme of a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world after hearing years of doomsday predictions, most of which never came true or were far from catastrophic. I wondered what some real threats to our way of life are and in 2015, started writing a novel, Defenders of Holt, about what a dystopian future might look like. After that book, I wanted to write about the events that led up to that dystopian world and settled on a coronal mass ejection (CME) as the apocalyptic event in the Teenage Survivalist series. I did many hours of research to back up my stories to make them as realistic as possible. 

Julie's book list on apocalyptic event that causes a dystopian future

Julie L. Casey Why did Julie love this book?

In this 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist book, a different scenario of an apocalyptic event—a meteor that slams into earth, causing a shift in the planet’s magnetic core—ushers in the end of the age of technology and the beginning of a dystopian future where knowledge is not only power, it is currency. I loved this book because it’s a clever and exciting take on a dystopian tale. Being set in Australia provides lots of interesting scenes and plot twists and the idea of using knowledge as currency brings new meaning to the phrase "knowledge is power." This is a thoroughly enjoyable story that is hard to put down. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good adventure with just a touch of romance!

By Whitney L. Grady,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Am Currency as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist**
When a meteor slams into earth causing a shift in the planet’s magnetic core, the age of technology ends and economies across the globe crash. Years later, knowledge is not only power…it is currency. Bookkeepers are invaluable in this post-apocalyptic world.

Nevel can never tell anyone he is a bookkeeper. His photographic memory is his secret. With a dystopian government that keeps all known books under lock and key looming as a constant threat and with parents involved as agents in the U.B.M. (Underground Book Movement) to protect that secretly exist, Nevel is…


Book cover of The Sky So Heavy

Paula Weston Author Of The Undercurrent

From my list on YA set in Australia – but not quite as we know it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Australian and there’s a big place in my heart for Australian-set stories. I read mostly for escapism, but there’s a deeper connection with tales from my own backyard. I’ve also always loved speculative fiction – everything from epic and paranormal fantasy to space opera and dystopian thrillers – and I’m excited when my favourite genres and setting come together. My day job is in local government. I’ve seen how government decisions can impact the trajectory of a society, and I’m particularly drawn to stories that explore that theme. I’m the author of five speculative fiction novels with Australian settings: the four novels in The Rephaim series (supernatural fantasy) and The Undercurrent (slightly futuristic/pre-apocalyptic). 

Paula's book list on YA set in Australia – but not quite as we know it

Paula Weston Why did Paula love this book?

This book equally moved and unnerved me because its premise is all too possible. It’s a brilliantly written end-of-the-world story with an understated sense of menace and an unmistakable Australian flavour. 

The novel offers an intimate and fascinating first-person view of what happens to a ‘normal’ neighbourhood when life as we know it irrevocably changes – in this case through a nuclear winter. Often, apocalyptic/dystopian stories skim over the transition from order to chaos/social breakdown, and Claire handles it in a way that’s unsettling by its understatement.

I cared deeply about these characters. And while this novel is gritty, it’s also a story of hope and what it means to survive. 

By Claire Zorn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sky So Heavy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

This haunting dystopian novel thrillingly and realistically looks at a nuclear winter from an Australian perspective.

For Fin it’s just like any other day—racing for the school bus, bluffing his way through class, and trying to remain cool in front of the most sophisticated girl in his universe. Only it’s not like any other day because, on the other side of the world, nuclear missiles are being detonated. When Fin wakes up the next morning, it’s dark, bitterly cold, and snow is falling. There’s no internet, no phone, no TV, no power, and no parents. Nothing Fin’s learned in school…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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