Ten great reads – HSC

Reading is a great way to trigger the imagination and reduce stress in Years 11 and 12. Here are some favourite titles.

Image: A collection of books for your teenager to enjoy.

1. The Messenger (Markus Zusak)

Cab driver Ed Kennedy lives a peaceful life with his dog, The Doorman, until he unexpectedly stops a bank robbery. ‘ The Messenger’ tells the story of a strange adventure that shakes up his life of suburban mediocrity, bringing with it mystery, drama, humour and love.

2. This is How We Change the Ending (Vikki Wakefield)

How would you feel if your private thoughts were graffitied on the walls of the local youth centre? That’s what happens to Nate McKee, a 16-year-old with a lot to worry about who prefers to hide from the world. Nate’s father and friends aren’t exactly reassuring but when pages from his notebooks are stolen and their contents revealed, the results are unexpected and Nate realises he has allies. Maybe he can take control of his life after all.

3. Wearing Paper Dresses (Anne Brinsden)

Elise’s comfortable 1950s life is rudely interrupted when she and her family are transplanted to a small farmhouse in the dry Mallee region of northern Victoria. She struggles to cope, leaving her daughters Marjorie and Ruby to take care of themselves. Then something really goes wrong.

4. It Sounded Better in My Head (Nina Kenwood)

Natalie doesn’t get why her parents have decided to separate. Now, to top it all off, her two best friends, Zach and Lucy, have fallen in love. Natalie’s feeling confused and left out but romance has a way of surprising all of us. A novel about what’s really important in life and how we learn to recognise it.

5. The Uninhabitable Earth (David Wallace-Wells)

We can already see dramatic evidence of climate change but without serious global action, real transformations will begin within a few decades. David Wallace-Wells uses storytelling and social science to explore what this new reality might be like and how it could affect our personal, political, cultural and economic lives.

6. The Shepherd’s Hut (Tim Winton)

Jaxie Clackton has lost just about everything and there’s only one person left who truly understands him. To reach her he must cross vast salt lands, a journey only the naive or desperate would undertake. There is one thing he hasn’t lost, however: hope.

7. Boy Swallows Universe (Trent Dalton)

Following your heart is hard enough at the best of times but Eli’s life is already complicated: father lost, brother mute, mum in jail. Falling in love and trying to save his mum are going to make things memorable this Christmas.

8. The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim

Things are pretty hectic, what with looking after her brother and helping out at the restaurant, but when Anna meets her dad’s new delivery boy, Rory, she suddenly feels life might not be so bad after all. Then her mum’s illness takes a turn for the worse.

9. Adam Spencer’s Top 100 (Adam Spencer)

Adam Spencer returns with more hilarious (and informative) adventures in the world of science, maths and tech. Providing some unexpected answers to questions you’ve probably never thought of, this may just be his greatest geek-fest yet.

(And one for you)

10. Viral Parenting (Mindy McKnight)

Raising well-adjusted kids in the digital world is a challenge for all parents. Learn practical solutions to common problems and create sensible boundaries to keep your kids communicative, responsible and safe.

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) is regularly updating its advice about the Higher School Certificate (HSC) as the coronavirus outbreak unfolds. Schools are well placed to provide advice to parents and students about changes to the HSC in 2020. You may also access NESA’s Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice page directly.


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