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Find out more about the books of Alyssa Brugman

Alyssa Brugman’s young adult novels are read and admired by teens across Australia, and have regularly been shortlisted for some of Australia’s most prestigious literary prizes. To find out more about Alyssa’s novels, see below, or
Cover photo of Alex as well

Alex as Well

What do you do when everybody says you’re someone you’re not?
Alex wants change. Massive change. More radical than you could imagine. Her mother is not happy, in fact she’s imploding. Her dad walked out. Alex has turned vegetarian, ditched one school, enrolled in another, thrown out her clothes. And created a new identity. An identity that changes her world. And Alex—the other Alex—has a lot to say about it. Alex As Well is a confronting and heartfelt story of adolescent experience—of questioning identity, discovering sexuality, navigating friendships and finding a place to belong. Alex is a strong, vulnerable, confident, shy and determined character, one you will never forget. With the same tenderness and insight as YA stars such as John Green and David Levithan, Alyssa Brugman has crafted a knockout story about identity, sexuality and family that speaks effortlessly to a universal teen experience.

Alex as Well here
Buy Alex as Well here
Cover photo of The Equen queen

The Equen Queen

While moored to a new world Quentaris is approached by a new sky-city. The sky-traders on board seem friendly and generous, offering the Quentarans food and gems, but are they really setting a trap for Quentaris? What are the Equens? Can they really heal the sick? Why can’t Tab Vidler use her special powers any more? And what is that trickster Fontagu hiding in the slaughterhouse?

The Equen Queen here
Buy The Equen Queen here
The Shelby Series here
Cover of Greener Pastures

Greener Pastures

Shelby would never ever sell her beloved Blue, would she? Just how much money would it take to make her change her mind?
And when Shelby's new friend Olivia tells her about a horse that she got for free, Shelby knows it's too good to be true.
What is the secret price that Olivia will have to pay?

Buy Greener Pastures here
Cover photo of Hide & Seek

Hide & Seek

Mrs Edel's prized stallion, Diablo, is missing from the stables. Was Diablo stolen, or is it all an accident? With the help of her mum's new skills as a private investigator, Shelby resolves to find out the truth.

Meanwhile, a new trick-riding troupe has come to town. Impressed by the amazing feats of the trick riders, Shelby starts visiting the troupe and learning some of their skills. Trusty Blue, with his festive paint colouring and solid, laid-back style, makes a perfect trick-riding mount, and Shelby improves quickly. Could this be the equestrian career Shelby has been dreaming of?

Buy Hide and Seek here
Cover photo of Hot Potato

Hot Potato

In this new Shelby adventure Shelby and her friends Lindsey and Erin can't resist buying a beautiful young pony that is going cheap at the horse auctions.

The girls are sure that, between them, they have the skills to give the horse some light training and sell it on for at least three times the money.

The problem is, none of the girls are allowed to have a new horse. They each tell their parents that the new horse (which they call 'Hot Potato') belongs to one of the other girls. Unfortunately 'Hotty' is not as easy to hide, or train, as they had imagined.

Buy Hot Potato here
Cover photo of Beginners Luck

Beginners Luck

Shelby's pony Blue has been evicted from his paddock. Shelby's parents have threatened to give him away to the local riding school, unless Shelby can find a new place fast.

It seems the 'Matchstick Town Challenge' prize money is the answer to all her problems, but the Matchstick Town has a secret. Who else knows about this mysterious place, and what are they hiding?

Buy Beginner's Luck here
COver photo of For sale or Swap

For Sale or Swap

Shelby is convinced her reliable but ugly pony, Blue, is holding her back at Pony Club. If only she had a beautiful horse, everyone would see what a great rider she is. But how can Shelby buy a new horse when her parents can't even afford to pay her Pony Club fees? When she sees an ad for an eye-catching brown pony for sale or swap, Shelby thinks she's found the answer to all her problems.
Maxshine Celtic Copper - otherwise known as Brat - seems perfect. But swapping a pony who's your best friend for a highly strung horse whose beautiful brown coat washes out with shampoo turns out to be a really bad idea. The race is on for Shelby and her friends to catch a horse thief, find her beloved Blue and return Brat to her rightful owners.

Buy For Sale or Swap here
COver photo of Girl Next Door

Girl Next Door

See, what happened was, our lives were going really well. My mum got a promotion, I enrolled in an A-list school, and then my Dad had this great idea to start an empire. But now he's 'gone to the country'. What does that mean? Is it the same place they take old, sick dogs? Is he in a mental institution? Has he joined a cult? It's been two months now, and I still don't know what it means.
Declan, the boy next door, says that my dad's in hospital, but everyone's always dying as far as Declan is concerned. Now there are all these people moving into my house, and all my stuff is on the lawn. I've tried to raise it with my Mum, but she talks to me as if I am a four-year-old, when she talks to me at all, which is less and less lately. Hello! Can somebody please tell me what's going on? A novel about losing your home and finding your family. Buy Girl Next Door here
Cover photo of Solo

Solo

I thought about Callum first. I imagined his face from every angle. Him smiling at me over some shared joke, one that I'd instigated, shocking him into a delighted laugh - tipping the balance in my favour just for an instant.
Then ugly, perverse thoughts barged in like bullies. All those thoughts I'd pushed aside, dammed, saw their opportunity to attack with renewed vigour. Out here there wasn't a thing to distract me. That was the whole idea of going solo, wasn't it? I wondered if isolation could send you mad. But I was already nutty, so maybe it would send me sane.
After yet another outburst, Mackenzie is sent to a Wilderness camp - 24 hours alone in the Australian bush - to confront her past, her family and her demons. That's when things start to unravel. . . 

'Notable Book' in the 2007 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards
Reviews: Brugman has developed an incredible story of a child whose family has disappeared beneath her. Events beyond her control have shaped her life for the worse, and she must recognize this and attempt to rebuild it. I followed her with my heart in my mouth and then immediately reread the book to make sure that Mackenzie will succeed, so engrossed was I with this girl's life. Girls particularly in secondary school will find this book gripping.

Buy Solo here
Notes for teachers here
Cover photo of Being Bindy

Being Bindy

What happens when your worst friend, who used to be your best friend, threatens to become your sister?
I'd never sat on my own in the schoolyard before. Everywhere I looked I saw smirking faces, people whispering to each other, or whistling. Janey wouldn't even look at me. I overheard one of the others say, I don't know why you were ever friends with her,' to which she replied, I know. She's just so bleagh.'
That was the moment. It was officially TWDOML - The Worst Day of My Life.
Janey narrowed her eyes. Don't you understand anything? When adults Go Out, it's not like when we do it. Before too long they'll want to move in together and where will they live? What if they get married? We'll be sisters.'
Bindy faces some tough decisions, finding her own way among schoolmates, friends,
ex-friends, boys and parents in this funny, searching novel from the author of Finding Grace and Walking Naked.
Being Bindy emphasises the possibility of a functional single-parent family. Bindy's father is sensitive, thoughtful and practical, with a classic "dad" sense of humour (lame jokes abound).
The positive portrayal of men in the book is refreshing. Brugman has a knack for creating characters that the reader can't help but care about, and for this reason her books are highly enjoyable.
Finding Grace, Brugman's first book, is still my favourite, but she has received critical acclaim for everything she's written so far, and no one should be surprised if her success continues with Being Bindy.

Angie Schiavone
Sydney Morning Herald

Being Bindy is funny, sad and moving - but most of all it is very real. The problems faced by Bindy and Janey will touch a nerve with teenage girls. Author Alyssa Brugman doesn't preach and doesn't provide easy answers. There is nothing as simple as happily-ever-after - but there is a feeling of hope which makes the novel uplifting but not unrealistic.
This is Brugman's third novel for young adult readers, although this one is aimed at a slightly younger audience than the previous two. What it does have in common with her earlier offerings is Brugman's superb blend of insight and writing skill.

Reviewed by Sally Murphy www.aussiereviews.com
Being Bindy here
Cover photo of Walking Naked

Walking Naked

'Every school has one. They are ugly or fat. They have scars or acne or birthmarks. We are mean to them. We ridicule them. We don't want to stand near them or sit next to them. Perdita was one of those.'
Megan is one of the leaders of the in-group. She wouldn't dream of talking to Perdita, 'the Freak'. But when they are thrown together in detention, she finds herself drawn into a spiky, challenging almost-friendship. Megan faces an uncomfortable truth: Perdita or the group?
This sharply observed, unflinching story is about the ins and outs of girls' friendships, the power of words and poetry and the painful getting of wisdom. 'Every school has one. They are ugly or fat. They have scars or acne or birthmarks. We are mean to them. We ridicule them. We don't want to stand near them or sit next to them. Perdita was one of those.'
Megan is one of the leaders of the in-group. She wouldn't dream of talking to Perdita, 'the Freak'. But when they are thrown together in detention, she finds herself drawn into a spiky, challenging almost-friendship. Megan faces an uncomfortable truth: Perdita or the group?
This sharply observed, unflinching story is about the ins and outs of girls' friendships, the power of words and poetry and the painful getting of wisdom.
Reviews: Megan is not an appealing child, constantly putting herself first. But she learns some valuable truths as the story progresses, and so too may readers should they have ever been in a similar position themselves. Excellently written, making clever use of poets from Sylvia Plath to e e cummings, this is a book to read and then read again.
5 Stars - unmissable
Nicholas Tucker
Papertigers.org

Fascinating look at the politics in the "best" clique at an Australian high school and the subtle yet cruel ferocity that marks their interactions, both with each other and with the rest of the school. This is an engrossing read that many junior high (and younger senior high) girls will enjoy. (Please note - this is a dark and quite frank book; possibly not for everyone).
Review by Lyn P. 
Wilmette Public Library

Walikng Naked here
Buy Walking Naked here
Cover photo of Finding Grace

Finding Grace

Rachel has just left school and she knows everything. Well, maybe not quite everything. Then she meets the mysterious Mr Preston, who gives her a live-in job looking after Grace - Grace with the lovely house, the grasping sisters, the feral neighbours and the spooky box full of unfinished business; Grace who never speaks. Who is Grace? How do the pieces of her world fit together? And what will it all mean for Rachel?
Told from Rachel's gloriously eccentric perspective, this is an intriguing, compassionate, unexpectedly funny story about tasting love, finding grace and getting a life.
Reviews: Writing in the first person, Alyssa Brugman captures the reader's imagination in the intensity of a teenager's struggle to find a way through frustrating emotions while caring for and protecting a handicapped person. She takes the reader within the walls of disability and the prejudice sometimes projected by the outside world. 
Detailed descriptions of extreme, emotional hopelessness at times allow you to experience Rachel's inner depth of confusion. This novel deserves recognition for the way the author has brought life to this her first book. Throughout the book, she has taken a difficult theme and presented the storyline with the stark, realism that challenges Rachel to a journey of self-discovery. Sometimes heartbreaking but always inspiring, I would recommend this as a highly worthwhile read suited for secondary school students.
Reviewed by Kristy O'Brien
Courier Mail Young Reviewer of the year Older Readers

Without fanfare Finding Grace by Alyssa Brugman (Allen & Unwin), a fresh, unpretentious story of idiosyncratic Rachel who cares for brain-damaged Grace, claims its place as a frank, distinctively humorous début novel.
Pam McIntyre
Best Books of the Year
Australian Book Review
Finding Grace here
Buy Finding Grace here

To contact Alyssa, email her on alyssabrugman@yahoo.com.au

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