Why Driving into the Sun and The Coves are the perfect crossover titles for YA readers


Teach Australia’s colonial history through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy embroiled in one of the greatest criminal underworlds in the Gold Rush era. Or start a discussion around grief and loss in young people with a beautifully written literary novel.

Our two adult crossover titles, Driving into the Sun by Marcella Polain and The Coves by David Whish-Wilson, both examine contemporary themes, ideas and characters in their stories, though their settings are historical.

The Coves follows 12-year-old Samuel Bellamy as he journeys from the new settlement of Perth in search of his missing mother. When the ship docks, he finds himself in Gold Rush era San Francisco, a city run by a gang of Australian criminals known as the Sydney Coves.

A work of historical fiction, David’s book explores a little-known period of Australian history through the eyes of a young, relatable character. Explore relationships, narrative perspective, history and more in the teaching notes are available here.

Driving into the Sun is told from the perspective of 11-year-old Orla and explores the difficulties she and her family face in the wake of her father’s tragic death in 60s Perth. Orla must negotiate the disarming effect of grief, the danger of impending womanhood and the world around her with no male figure to guide her.

Based on Marcella’s own childhood experiences of death and grief, Driving into the Sun explores these themes as well as as well as ideas about budding sexuality and female autonomy through the use of symbolism and an unusual narrative voice., all of which can be explored in the classroom with the assistance of the accompanying teaching notes.


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