Welcome to our Ten Book Challenge where our favorite authors share their “Book-It List”—a book bucket list with 10 of their most beloved and memorable reads—from the books with their favorite covers and best opening lines, to the reads they gift and the bookstores they frequent. This is a peek into your favorite authors’ perfect bowl of literary comfort food. We hope you discover something delicious!

Growing up in a large and proud Aboriginal family, on the Far South Coast of NSW in Australia, Yuin writer Gary Lonesborough often tried his hand at writing as a kid. And when he realized he was queer at the age of 12, it dawned on him that he didn’t see anyone like him in his love for books. So he stopped reading altogether, and started trying to fit in. Gary wished that he could’ve walked into his school library and picked up a book written by an Aboriginal author that featured a queer Aboriginal protagonist—maybe if he could find someone who related to that daily struggle—it would have helped him. As he grew older, he decided to write those books; to write stories that deserve to be told, for Aboriginal kids to be ablet o read and love books written by Aboriginal authors, to see themselves in the pages.

Ready When You Are is a stunning YA love story between two Aboriginal boys – one who doesn’t want to accept he’s gay, and the boy who comes to live in his house who makes him realize who he is.

Don’t miss our exclusive interview with Gary Lonesborough about balancing heavy topics in YA such as indigenous and LGBTQA+ issues, the importance of imperfect endings, and his aboriginal-YA book recommendations. 

The Book I…… 

I last bought/am currently reading: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

I recommend to everyone: Simon vs the Homo Sapien’s Agenda by Becky Albertalli

That was my favorite to read last year, and why:  Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden. It was the first book I read after the Australian publication of Ready When You Are and it was a really heartwarming, funny novel. I loved the protagonist and just had so much fun reading it!

Whose author I would love to have lunch with: Pet Sematery by Stephen King

That made me realize language had power: the Goosebumps series by R.L Stine

I’d like to see adapted to the screen: Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

That made me laugh out loud—or cry—while reading it:  Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden

That has the most gorgeous cover:  Blood Meridian by Cormack McCarthy

With the best opening line: Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Bookstore that I frequent/is my favorite:  Candelo Books (Bega, NSW Australia).

Bonus: What is your favorite Kylie Minogue song? There is not a simple answer!