My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Our March Book of the Month

My Dark Vanessa

by Kate Elizabeth Russell


"Russell has been working on her debut novel for 18 years, and you can tell how much this time has strengthened the final work. It’s a challenging story she’s chosen to tell – a teenage girl unwittingly entering into an immensely damaging relationship with her teacher, a woman grappling to sustain the love story she’s told herself and made herself believe in order to survive – and I appreciate just how well she has managed to tell it. My Dark Vanessa is a provocative portrait of sexual and psychological harm, how society enables this harm to come to young women, and how damaging our expectations are of how a victim should act. This is a truly extraordinary novel, and one that will generate a lot of conversation in the same vein as Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women.” - Kate

 "This book needs a trigger warning. Trauma is not something that is easily defined, nor is abuse. Set during the aftermath of the Me Too movement, we follow a victim as she slowly comes to terms with the reality of what happened to her. It is quite explicit in its depiction of child sex abuse but the extreme nature of the circumstances drag important questions into the spotlight. One could simply describe it as “Lolita from the perspective of Dolores’’ but it is so much more than that." - Angelita

 "Wow - I am so impressed by this debut novel. It's powerful, breathtaking and stays on your mind. Dealing with the protagonist Vanessa's illicit 'relationship' with her high school teacher, what I loved about this book is how it navigates the 'grey areas' of sexual abuse so deftly and with such nuance, vividly depicting the confusing and overwhelming emotions that follow. It wasn't always an easy read (it definitely needs a trigger warning) but so so worth it for the way Russell explores these themes with empathy, and without telling you what to think. It challenged my assumptions and provided such an original insight into the experience of this kind of trauma. Honestly a strong contender for Book of the Year already. For readers of Three Women." - Lucy H


 Dear Earth

Our March Illustrated Kids' Book of the Month

Dear Earth

by Isabel Otter & Clara Anganuzzi


Inspired by her grandpa's stories of exploring the globe, Tessa decides to write a letter to Earth to introduce herself, and to let our planet know about all the incredible adventures she hopes to have on it one day. Her ambitious imaginings, brought to vivid life by Anganuzzi's lush illustrations, take us from the depths of the ocean to the highest mountain peaks and driest desert dunes. It ends with a touching acknowledgement of the harm humans have wrought on Earth, and hope for how we can work together to heal these wounds. A poingant, inspiring read for the whole family, which encourages taking steps, however small, to help our planet.” - Kate




Threads of Magic book

Our March Kids' Fiction Book of the Month

The Threads of Magic

by Alison Croggon


“Pip, a young pickpocket in France around the time of the revolution, accidentally comes into the possession of a black 'stone' that turns out to be the cursed heart of...well, you'll find out! As the heart begins to communicate with Pip, he discovers a world of good witches, evil kings and a princess who wishes to disappear. This is a highly creative, original, dark and brilliant tale of strength and friendship and I couldn't put it down.” - Sylvia



Australian Fiction  
The Coconut Children
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We Were Never Friends
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Desire Lines
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Hurricane Season
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Here We Are
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Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982
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The Girl with the Louding Voice: A BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick
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19 Love Songs
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Yes No Maybe So
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The Good Hawk (Shadow Skye, Book One)
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Children's Books  
Edie's Experiments 1: How to Make Friends
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Aussie Kids: Meet Zoe and Zac at the Zoo
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Wonderful Wisdom of Ants, The
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The Proudest Blue
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The Smoke Shop's Backyard BBQ: Eat, Drink, and Party Like a Pitmaster
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The Secret Garden Cookbook, Newly Revised Edition: Inspiring Recipes from the Magical World of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden
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Condiments: Make Your Own Hot Sauce, Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo, Ferments, Pickles and Spice Blends from Scratch
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Thinking and Eating: Recipes to Nourish and Inspire
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Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader
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Ten Doors Down: The story of an extraordinary adoption reunion
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Dear Parents: Letters from the Teacher-Your Children, Their Education, and How You Can Help
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Uncanny Valley: A Memoir
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