CBCA 2024 Book of the Year Awards: Eta Draconis

Awards, Eta Draconis 28.02.2024

The Children’s Book Council of Australia has announced its 2024 Book of the Year Awards Notables List and Eta Draconis can be found on their Older Readers Notables List – “entries in this category may be fiction, drama or poetry and should be appropriate in style and content for readers in their secondary years of schooling. Ages 13-18 years.”

In what reads as an allegory for COVID, the lyrical, introspective style of this novel depicts a half-formed moorlessness that will speak deeply to young people whose lives changed so drastically in 2020. Anchored with a strong sense of place, the atmospheric tone is bleak, but ultimately offers a hopeful note. Elora’s character rings rawly true; at times, she’s thoughtful and reflective, and in the next moment, achingly young and unworldly. This is a very literary story but with a character-driven focus that appeals, with coming-of-age themes that quite literally showcase a young person’s changing reliance from family to the wider world. The actions of the characters are believable and authentic – people respond in strange ways in a crisis, and a slow apocalypse, one in which you literally have no control over anything but how you choose to live your life, would bring out the extremes of these behaviours