Read Harder Challenge #8: Meet Me at the Intersection & Read Harder Challenge #9: Lost in the Red Hills of Mars

Posted about 5 years ago by Jennifer Deuell
Posted in Book Reviews

Prompt #8: An #ownvoices book set in Oceania

If you read my Read Harder planning post back in December, you know that I had planned to read a different book for this prompt.  However, when Book Riot came out with their own list for this prompt, they noted that the book should be written by an indigenous author.  So, I went back and did some more research and man was it hard to find a YA book written by an indigenous author from an Oceanic country!  I think this just further proves the point that we can still do better when it comes to diversity in publishing, particularly with youth literature.

While searching our digital collection on Hoopla, I eventually came upon a relatively new book titled Meet Me at the Intersection edited by Rebecca Lim and Ambelin Kwaymullina. This is an anthology of short stories, poetry, and essays by authors living in Australia.  All of them are #ownvoices authors who are First Nations, People of Colour, LGBTIQA+ or living with disability.

I typically find it hard to review an anthology in that each of the pieces tend to be so different.  Some I may love, others may not be my favorite. This held true for Meet Me at the Intersection.  Instead, I thought I’d share with you one of my favorites written by Ellen van Neerven, an Aboriginal writer and poet from the Yugambeh people of South East Queensland.  Her short story, Night Feet, is fictional, but based on her own experiences as a teen in Brisbane.  

The main character of Night Feet is a young girl in high school who loves playing soccer.  In order to play at the Nationals, she must receive scholarship money to fund her trip.  However, on the day the scholarship application is due, her father is late getting home from work and she must figure out a way to get to the post office on her own.  This story is only a short snippet of the character’s day, but the author does a wonderful job of portraying a typical experience for this teen by way of her trip to the post office and the people she interacts with along the way.

Here are some more suggestions for prompt #8:

Rabbit Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington

The Foretelling of Georgie Spider by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Prompt #9: A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads

This prompt was a little less challenging for me because I immediately knew how to find a great book.  Each year, Richmond Public Library holds the Young Adult Virginia Author (YAVA) Award. Young adult authors in Virginia are nominated and then voted on by the public.  We always have a fantastic array of authors who are nominated. Some are traditionally published, others are self-published. Although self-published authors are finally beginning to get the recognition they deserve, oftentimes they still do not get the media exposure that traditionally published authors enjoy.  So, when I saw this prompt I thought to go check out some of our past, self-published YAVA authors.

Lost in the Red Hills of Mars, by Jackie Hunter, is a really fun, quick sci-fi read for teens.  It’s the story of Celine who lives with her parents in an underground community on Mars called The Compound.  One day, on a geological excursion, Celine’s father goes missing and is presumed dead. However, Celine believes her father is still alive and sets out into a skin-scouring Martian sandstorm to find him.  But the weather isn’t the only challenge Celine will face as she discovers that the founders of The Compound have some secrets they’ve been hiding.

Here are some other former YAVA authors who have yet to receive the Goodreads attention they deserve:

Nelson Beats the Odds by Ronnie Nelson Sidney II

Rest in Peace Rashawn Reloaded by Ronnie Nelson Sidney II

Wirewalker Mary Lou Hall 

Gidion’s Hunt by Bill Blume

Gidion’s Blood by Bill Blume

Here are Book Riot’s suggestions: (although some now have more than 100 ratings)



Jennifer Deuell

Jenn Deuell is a Librarian with Richmond Public Library. She is a native of Fredericksburg, VA but has lived in Richmond for long enough that she now considers it home. She loves all things YA and can usually be found curled up at home with a good book (rainy day or not). Her other hobbies include traveling and spending time with family, including her husband, daughter Hannah, and two rescued pit bulls. For YA reading recommendations from Jenn, visit Bookologist.

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