Magabala Books are thrilled that writer, screen writer and visual artist Sue McPherson’s 2018 experimental YA novel Brontide has been one of three titles shortlisted for the 2019 Most Underrated Book Award as announced by The Small Press Network. Brontide was a highly talked-about release last year for its candid, interview-style format covering topics of racism, risk taking, foster care, adoption and toxic masculinity.

Convened by the judging panel consisting of Melissa Cranenburgh, Jane Rawson and Jackie Tang, they said of Brontide, “Young adult books have the latitude to delight in experiments with form that are often denied to those in the adult market. Sue McPherson has taken full advantage of this, and truly played with structure in her novel Brontide, a small marvel with a big heart. Despite its brevity, these pages hold a deceptively ambitious structure, told via interviews with four high school boys in a small Queensland town. These four voices ring out with irreverence, humour, pain and longing—their thoughts are presented unvarnished, resulting in big moments that are in turn hilarious, confronting and even heartbreaking. Utterly unpretentious, this is a hidden gem that would particularly appeal to reluctant teen—or even adult—readers who still want complex and nuanced storytelling. The book is not without flaws, but the reader is quickly swept up in a compelling narrative and few will leave dry-eyed.”

Brontide is a coming of age story about four boys and their lot in life. Recounted through storytelling sessions at their school over a period of five days, these boys chronicle their lives. They are at times demanding, occasionally rude, always funny and unexpectedly profound. The boys like to challenge themselves and the rules, and soon realise that not everything goes to plan.

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