Books by Justine Larbalestier

MY SISTER ROSA by Justine Larbalestier
Released: Nov. 15, 2016

"This dark thriller is the 1956 film The Bad Seed meets 2016; readers will be simultaneously terrified when Rosa's present and afraid to let her out of their sight. (Thriller. 14 & up)"
"Do you think I'm the devil?" Read full book review >
RAZORHURST by Justine Larbalestier
Released: March 3, 2015

"Larbalestier pulls no punches with the gruesome, gory details about the violence of poverty, and the result is a dark, unforgettable and blood-soaked tale of outlaws and masterminds. (glossary, author's note) (Historical suspense. 14 & up)"
Kelpie sees ghosts. Read full book review >
Released: July 3, 2012

"Laugh-out-loud funny, heart-wrenchingly sad and fist-pump-in-the-air triumphant, this sparkling gem proves that vampires, zombies and even teenagers…at heart, we're all on Team Human. (Fantasy. 12 & up.)"
Both lovers and loathers of teen vampire romance will revel in this hilarious satirical take on the genre. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 21, 2010

Forget vampires vs. werewolves; the hottest feud is between fans of the fiercely magical horses and the shambling, brain-eating undead. Adopting tones from humorous to haunting, tender to terrifying, and settings ranging from the fairy-tale past to modern suburbia to dystopian day-after-tomorrow, twelve YA authors (both up-and-coming and superstar) explore the mythic potential of each otherworldly creature. Team Zombie offers up both sweetly creepy romances between the living and not-quite-dead and chilling examinations of adolescence after the Zombie Apocalypse. Standouts for Team Unicorn include an inspirational tale of the reluctant heroine born to slay monsters and the baby maneater she loves and a poignant, piercing analysis of the corrosive price demanded by the power to heal. A healthy dose of graphic gore and plenty of love and lust (including same-sex and different-species pairings) push this collection into the older teen range. The editors chime in with wonderfully snarky cheerleading and a bit of insightful commentary along the way. Who is the victor in this epic smackdown? Readers, of course! (Fantasy/horror/short stories. 14 & up)Read full book review >
LIAR by Justine Larbalestier
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

Micah declares herself a liar and calls her own reliability as a narrator into question on the first page of this dark, gripping page-turner. When Zach, the boy with whom she might or might not be romantically involved, goes missing, Micah tries to tell the story of her tortured relationships with Zach and her classmates, teachers and family. Is Micah a killer? Quite possibly yes, but she weaves lies and truths together so artfully that even as she admits her deceptions, she becomes an increasingly compelling and sympathetic character. Micah's fractured first-person narrative skips around chronologically, further deepening the confusion about what has really happened in her life. The constant reversals keep readers guessing, a plot device that threatens to wear thin by the halfway point of the novel, but Larbalestier moves the plot nimbly past this moment, creating such an engrossing story of teenage life on the margins that even readers familiar with her Magic or Madness trilogy might not see the supernatural twist (or not) coming. In the end, it calls to mind I Am the Cheese with its hermetic wiliness. (Fiction. 14 & up)Read full book review >
HOW TO DITCH YOUR FAIRY by Justine Larbalestier
Released: Sept. 16, 2008

Charlie attends a magnet school for gifted athletes in a world where people are guided by unseen fairies with such special powers as styling good hair and finding loose change. Charlie is frustrated by hers, a parking fairy who guarantees that whatever car she's riding in will find a premium parking spot waiting at every destination. At 14, she'd rather have a clothes-shopping fairy or an every-boy-will-like-you fairy. Her efforts to rid herself of her fairy lead to a series of escalating mishaps involving the new boy at school, her archrival and multiple demerits. Things go awry when Charlie gets what she thinks she wants, and she must face some uncomfortable truths in order to solve the problems she's created. Larbalestier's repetitive use of creative slang will be familiar to those who enjoyed Louise Rennison's Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (2000, etc.). Fans of Larbalestier's award-winning Magic or Madness trilogy (2005, etc.) might be put off initially by the glib tone, but this comic coming-of-age novel will entertain teen readers. (demerits and suspensions, "List of Known Fairies Justine Thinks You Should Know," glossary) (Fantasy. 11-14)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2007

In this sizzling conclusion to a mordant fantasy trilogy, magic is more curse than blessing for 15-year-old Reason. She could wield it, and die young like her forebears; or refuse it, and go insane like her mother. A solution seemed to appear when a distant ancestor transferred his unfathomable power to Reason and her unborn child. But her best friend Jay-Tee is still dying from magical burnout; her baby's father has rejected her; her mother has been kidnapped; her evil grandfather is on the prowl; and now a social worker is investigating. No wonder Reason retreats more and more into the cool comfort of pure magic and abstract mathematics. Can she withdraw there, and still stay human? Alternating chapters by Reason, Jay-Tee and their friend Tom recount this crackling blend of fantastic adventure and soap-opera angst with vivid splashes of Aussie and American slang. A wry concluding twist mitigates a too-pat conclusion, and adolescent readers will be left pondering their own hard choices. Not a stand-alone story, but the entire trilogy is a worthwhile purchase. (Fantasy. YA)Read full book review >
MAGIC LESSONS by Justine Larbalestier
Released: March 16, 2006

Sequel to Magic or Madness (2005), this second in a proposed trilogy continues the story of 15-year-old Reason, an Australian girl who has spent much of her life running away from the magic that dominates her family. She now understands that running won't help her, it will only bring her closer to a terrible choice . . . use magic and die young, or stay away from magic and go mad. Her grandmother and friends in Australia want to help her, and her grandfather in New York City wants to steal her magic to lengthen his own lifespan. Transported between two physical worlds, and hung on the horns of the metaphysical, Reason must find her own path. In this installment, Reason makes some life-altering choices as she makes the transition from innocent child to young adult, and becomes more determined than ever to alter the direction of her life. Those who enjoyed the first installment will race through this second one and wait anxiously for the proposed end of the trilogy, in which one hopes for final and clearer resolutions for Reason and her friends. (Fantasy. YA)Read full book review >
MAGIC OR MADNESS by Justine Larbalestier
Released: March 1, 2005

When Reason's mother goes insane, mathematically gifted Reason is taken in by her wicked grandmother, who believes herself to be a witch and eats babies in pursuit of her imaginary magic. Until now, Reason's spent her entire life in the Australian bush hiding from her grandmother. Though the old madwoman doesn't actually seem all that bad, Reason still plans to run away. Her escape comes suddenly, though, when she opens a door and finds herself in a strange city where cold white stuff is falling from the sky. It seems magic is real, because Reason has been mystically transported to New York. A new friend with her own dangerous secrets rescues her from the cold. How will Reason protect herself from all the magicians who want to take advantage of her? A compelling mystery, despite the somewhat inaccurate culture shock theme that runs throughout (Americans who don't understand the word "mum" and think pineapple on pizza is crazily foreign). A cleverly creepy fantasy with likable, complex characters and a sinister conclusion. (Fantasy. 11-15)Read full book review >