Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (Viking, 2008); audiobook read by Tom Wren (Bolinda, 2010) YA fantasy that builds into its characterisation and gradually shifts focus, subverting expectations of its titular protagonist. Marchetta knows how to build a story, and weaves a much-needed female perspective through the plot, pointing the way forward for both genre and world.
On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (Penguin, 2006); audiobook read by Rebecca Macauley (Bolinda, 2010) Looking for Alaska meets Picnic at Hanging Rock. An Australian school story that builds slowly and earns its character development, trusting the reader to get by without exposition. Australian accent warning on the audiobook (for those not cultured enough to appreciate it!).