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May 4, 2018


Aurealis Award Best YA Novel 2017 short list

by N@ncy



  1. I have no idea what to expect from this book!
  2. I’m in the mood for strange.
  3. Jane Rawson  author of From the Wreck mentioned
  4. …this book on her reading list.
  5. Now, the title  is strange enough in itself.
  6. Psynode: ….not even a word!  But what is it?
  7. Psynode is  a secret facility operated by the megacorp Allnode.
  8. Leaving my comfort zone again!
  9.  But I have to keep discovering….because
  10. speculative fiction is creeping into the mainstream.



  1. Allnode Corp – head office
  2. Nodeplex – posh neighborhood
  3. Nodeville – industrial towers, housing, warehouses.
  4. Psynode – secret facility operated by the megacorp Allnode


Who is Mirii?

  1. Bruised-but-not broken girl who
  2. …has survived an industrial OrphanCorp. (OC)
  3. “..just one poor little chicky-face in a
  4. Pacific-sized ocean of poor jerks…” (ch 2)
  5. Ch 4 reveals that Miriiyanan Mahoney is indigenous
  6. ….but no has felt no family traditions . (…was in OC)


What does Mirii do?

  1. “…I tattoo, stick and poke, though there’s not much biz
  2. coming my way with all the competition.
  3. I do some design stuff too, but
  4. I’m mostly down with tech repair.”  (tatt and repair) (Ch 1)


What is Mirii’s goal?

  1. She wants to find her friend Adeline Vu.
  2. Mirii found a note six month ago
  3. …and she feels Vu is in Psynode
  4. ….or as Mirii calls it Brainfuckers, Inc.
  5. Mirii applies for a job at Allnode Corp
  6. Trainee in Resource Location (distribution center)
  7. …to get closer to Vu.
  8. Mirii is ‘hell-bent on espionage and radness.”


Theme:  tradition and family are everything

  1. Tradition is important…
  2. Something there to hold on to,
  3. make you feel connected to the Earth,
  4. give you a past to feel part of.
  5. Mirii (ch 4):
  6. ” I just feel so …untethered.
  7. With no family sometimes I feel like
  8. I could just float up and
  9. off the world and no one would notice.” 



  1. The book feels synthetic
  2. …crackling, electric and popping at the touch.
  3. YA fiction is a clever genre and fun to read.
  4. I was stunned when the
  5. …tone changed for just a few minutes.
  6. Chapter 4, scene 3….when I read
  7. ..the first moment of character reflection by Mirii.
  8. No hip-hop jingo…just pure emotion
  9. …of a struggling  young girl.
  10. I’ve developed my own strategy
  11. to  find the  narrative
  12. between all the urban chatter and tech slang.



  1. Slang…it is just a part of the YA culture
  2. …but it did take awhile to get used to
  3. I had to keep the Urban Dictionary
  4. by my side while reading Psynode.


Words:  I need the Urban Dictionary!

  1. Awesome is used just 2 x.
  2. …that surprises me b/c it is used constantly in conversations.
  3. Cool is used only  5 x….again surprising.
  4. So what are the words Ward uses to replace awesome and cool?
  5. Now the word is  RAD !  “That’s so rad!”
  6. Never too late to teach an old dog new tricks!
  7. The book is filled with slang…for example
  8. Bru = Bro  ( “How’s it going, bro?”)
  9. Rad babes and brus.
  10. …I’m into tatt and repair (tattooing and tech repair)
  11. and all that awful shiz  – nice way of saying shit
  12. do not fugg this upnice way of saying   fuck up
  13. …start my heavy mish into enemy territory. = mission
  14. I’m almost a hundy richer  ( =  100 procent)
  15. Hellvoid? = not in Urban dictionary…but I get the gist.
  16. I gotta jam.  = leave in haste
  17. No wuz, cuz = No worries, mate!
  18. Cheyeah, of course = obviously, you idiot!
  19. Note:  I thought Cheyeah was a new character!  Dùh!  🙂
  20. Mirii asks stranger who is there to help her: ” How do you know me?”
  21. Response: “This is, like, under. Gadi.”
  22. Gadi = person who goes out of his way to help others.
  23. Sleep’s not coming even though it is stupid o’ clock.
  24. I fold my features into a caj look. = casual
  25. What a character description:
  26. “Lacey has this soft, practical vibe to her
  27. keen but floaty.” (= someone who is slightly strange)
  28. You don’t read that in Jane Austen!



  1. A sharp-edged semi-futuristic story  about Mirii  Mahoney
  2. …and her quest to rescue a her friend Adeline Vu
  3. …from the clutches of the sinister Allnode Corp.
  4. Mirii can’t do it alone
  5. …and meets some ‘true bros’ who help her!
  6. I am utterly impressed by Psynode by Marlee Jane Ward.
  7. I started the book expecting nothing in the form of
  8. a narrative that would capture my attention.
  9. How wrong I was! 



  1. Marlee Jane Ward has written a well plotted book with a
  2. clever set-up
  3. an inciting event that set the story in motion (kidnapping)
  4. ….and in one fluid motion the reader is
  5. …presented the first plot point in chapter 4. (end act 1)
  6. Tension is building and in chapter 5 is the second plot point. (end act 2)
  7. Mirii is ready to face the truth, feels empowered
  8. …and has achieved a victory. She has found
  9. an important person who agrees  to help her!


  1. I won’t comment more on the last 2 chapters (act 3 and resolution)
  2. ….you must read it yourself.
  3. If you are a 60+  (like me….)
  4. …who has never read a YA book
  5. .this is one you can try!
  6. Just remember…
  7. …put the Webster’s Dictionary back on the bookshelf and
  8. fire up the online Urban Dictionary.
  9. You will need it!

Last thoughts: 

  1. Good structure, 7 chapters, 7 days of the week.
  2. Engaging hook  (ch 1)
  3. Keep the writing tight and on focus (snappy urban lingo)
  4. The ending? …. satisfied this reader!
  5. #Bravo  Marlee Jane Ward


Just have a look at this cast of characters….all created by Marlee Jane Ward!


Mrs Gupta – Una and Ildi (Pierce twins)- Xue Xiang (girl in dorm) – Elton – Mrs Poluski (landlady) – Zoya Safranek (manager HR Allnode)  – Mirii Mahoney (MC) – Missy Burkus – the man – old woman – Allnode recruiter Brandis – = Ms Wong ( another boardinghouse landlord..small woman) – Jools (girl in dorm) – Adeline Vu – ‘the old bag’ ( bag lady on street) – NewForce Guard – biker  on slick Kawasaki

Cam – Sticks (old friends from OrphanCorp…Verity House) – Elton (recruiter)  Adeline  Vu  (good friend of Mirii who is mentioned throughout the story) – portly old babe with grey hair – Vikkie the Wrangler (Allnode Resource center trainer) – guy lean and wiry (worker at Allnode) – Ngg (lost job at Allnode) – Mifsud (lost job at Allnode)  – Mrs P’s – Ms Wong’s – chicky across the way (in dorm) a giant of a girl with folded ears.

Rowe Hamilton-Singh (Dr. Singh’s daughter)  – newbie (worker at Allnode) – grizzled old dude pro (worker at Allnode)

Dr. Singh (Rowe’s father)– bug girl (sells locust skewers in marketstall)  – Tane the  tattoo’er (works nights as secruity guard Allnode) – Lacey (60+’er) (…member anti-cap group, anti capitalism in underground hideout) – Delilah (Lacey’s computer)

Dude from intake  at Allnode — Big dude with nose broken 10 x (guard at Allnode)  – new female unit manager  (nameless but ends up in girlfight with Mirii) – warehouse fuzz (Rentacop at Allnode)  – Tat..member anti-cap group (aka mohawk babe  or Ginger Buzzcut)

Yellow-hair nurse  at Allnode (no name) –  Steveo  (victim of Psynode) – Babe in a labcoat (no name) – Dude with ultra-blond dreadies.


8 Comments Post a comment
  1. May 4 2018

    I am glad you enjoyed this book. I have not read much YA fiction.


    • May 4 2018

      Tracy, I opened this book and did not not what to expect.
      It is a very good, fun and interesting story to read…a thriller!
      Now that is smth you always like.
      I had so much fun…it was like reading a new language (urban chatter, tech slang etc).
      Sometimes I thought: “What is a ‘caj look’ ?
      And I still laugh when I say to the cats: “No wuz, cuz!”
      I am still amazed how Marlee Jane Ward….learned all these saying!
      Have fun…with this one!


  2. May 5 2018

    B17 recently gave me the ins & outs on how to use the word ‘lit’ in conversation. Turns out it quickly went from being a word in regular teen use to mean cool, to being used ironically! It changes so fast! I wonde if this tendency dates books like this almost as soon as they’re published?


    • May 5 2018

      Brona, I felt I was reading a foreign language! But I loved it! I am amazed the knowledge of of urban slang that Marlee Ward knows. Now, I must be careful if I want to try some new words! Your example of ‘lit’ is great: Oh, he was lit! (amazing….or very intoxicated). There are two words young Dutch kids use: (info for B17 ..)
      vet: (literally means fat)….but here it means awesome.
      gaaf: (literally means flawless)…but here it means wonderful
      Looking forward to my next YA! Thanks for taking the time to comment….having fun in Japan?

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 5 2018

        Japan is amazing! I’ve wanted to come here since I was a teen. I’ll be doing some posts on my other blog when I get back. But the blossoms were amazing & the crowds this week, during Golden Week have been stupendous!

        Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Aurealis Award Best YA Novel 2017 short list | NancyElin
  2. #AWW2020 Aurealis 2018 Award Best SF Novella | NancyElin
  3. Psynode, (Orphancorp #2), by Marlee Jane Ward | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

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