Mallee Boys by Charlie Archbold

I don’t really know why this is called YA, though I gather the author herself markets her books that way. To me, it’s diminished by this and is worth more. The fact that a female Brit could write a story which feels so quintessentially Australian, rural Australian, and male Australian, suggests a great future for Archbold. If the word ‘authentic’ hadn’t been abused so, one could call it that.

Anyway. It’s the tale of two brothers and their father on a Mallee farm. It’s effectively told with a structure where each chapter alternates between one boy’s voice and the other. It brought tears to my eyes despite myself, but be reassured it isn’t some sort of tearjerker. Probably I had onion in my eye at that point.

I just loved this. Bravo Wakefield Press for publishing it – and I do hope that Archbold has many more works up her sleeve. Highly recommended!

2 thoughts on “Mallee Boys by Charlie Archbold

  1. I’ve been surprised at some of the works that I’ve seen labeled “young adult;” it seems to be a sort of catch-all for books that have a young character or for works that publishers don’t quite know what to do with (lots of fantasy & sci-fi started off this way). I generally disregard these labels but, as you noted, it probably does detract from the number of readers who’re willing to give a “young adult” novel a try.

    • Yes, Janakay, I think you are right. If it has a young character, it’s YA. Such an odd attitude since you aren’t likely to understand what you are as a teenager until much later in life. I hated Catcher in the Rye when I had to read it at school, but I was grateful when a friend insisted I read it again twenty years later. Such stories are rife, of course.

      I have heard the theory that YA is a huge market because it lets adults read simple books without the indignity of their being children’s books. I’m pleased to see that some of them (at least) are really good!

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